El Niño

Are you having a crazy winter where you are? We’ve been through El Niños before, but this year is something else.

Temperatures have mostly hovered right around zero or above. It took nearly half the winter before we had snow of any significance.

Sun rising over snow covered farm

But it only lasted a little while before the temperatures shot up again and everything melted. (Note how even the grass has maintained its green).

Farm after snowmelt

Every so often, temperatures drop back into the polar vortex territory that we experienced for the previous two winters. But then they invariably rise again.

Thermometer showing -20

The wildlife is not reacting well to the fluctuations.

We had an extra cat take refuge in the barn. And snakes are coming out of their dens only to freeze in the snow.

Dead snake in the snow

On behalf of the local wildlife, Ralph came out of the barn to investigate where winter went.

“No, I don’t believe I see any snow on this ground here.”

Ralph looking for snow

Not trusting his sister’s bad eye, Bax came to help her look.

“Nope, I do not see any snow either… And I think I’m sitting in mud.” (He was.)

Ralph and Baxter looking for snow

A month from today we will officially be into spring. Do you think we’re going to have a winter between now and then?

What’s winter been like where you are? Are you seeing any unusual wildlife behaviours? Anyone want to join Ralph’s and Baxter’s search party?

21 thoughts on “El Niño

  1. Our winter has been just as strange! We even hit 74F (23C) Saturday! But this week our highs are back in the low 40sF (2-3C). I’ll help Baxter and Ralph look, but not if they are going to find anymore of those snakes! AHHHH!

  2. This warm weather is lovely for us humans, but it does freak me out a bit when it comes to it’s impact on the garden and now, wildlife – that’s so sad about the snakes. I’m just hoping that my fruit trees survive all this inconsistency.

  3. Hi, Julia,

    Here in S.C., we had summer temps. and I am talking short sleeve weather up till Jan. of this year. Now we are fluctuating between cold days (50’s) and warm days and lots of rain. No snow, which is not unusual here. I am talking midlands of S.C.; I do believe our upstate counties have had some snow.. Yesterday’s forecast was 74 — beach weather. Hard to plan wardrobe when weather is this unpredictable!

    Love pics. of Ralph and Baxter BTW. I am with both of them — looking for snow. I LOVE cold weather and miss it this year.


  4. We are staying more frozen than your area, but it has still been a mild winter. What was most surprising to me was how long the frogs were still out last fall. The spring peepers seemed to be back, and I worried that all that mating would result in tadpoles that would not survive to adulthood. My son and I participate in citizen science, and we could frog calls throughout the season. It will be interesting to see if the population is greatly affected by this mild winter.

  5. Please excuse all the grammar mistakes and the typos. Goodness! “My son and I count frog calls” not “could” frog calls. My brain is moving faster than my fingers.

  6. Winter started three times here in Parry Sound, with major snowfalls, before it stayed. But bizarre weather continued – a big snowfall, then freezing cold, then mild temperatures, then rain or freezing rain, then cold again. We only have a couple of feet of snow right now, which is highly unusual. And this weekend it was mild enough for me to dry laundry on the clothesline! Easy winter notwithstanding, I am ready for Spring.

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