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Phenology with local naturalist Larry Weber every Friday morning at 8:20 on Northland Morning.

Backyard Almanac: A reason to like spring snows

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Tom Tetzner, USFWS [via Flickr, commercial use allowed]
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Frog with eggs in a vernal pool

Last week, Larry Weber said he thinks of April as a strange month. Well, here's one reason: In the first week of April, we've already received 11 inches of snow – more than the entire last month.

Contrary to popular opinion, though, Larry likes wet spring snows. And here is why: unlike early spring rain that so often will run off the frozen ground and not be absorbed, the wet snows of April will hold its moisture in place, so when it does melt it can help replenish vernal ponds; lacking fish, these ponds are safe breeding grounds of frogs, other amphibians, and insects.

Larry spotted some encouraging signs of spring: robins and purple finches this week. Plus, in spite of fresh snow and ice, he also spotted more crocuses and a dandelion in bloom. April is indeed strange, so the only prediction Larry will guarantee about the next week is that the moon will be full a week from tomorrow!