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Poor Will's Almanack: January 26 – February 1, 2021

The sun has been rising higher in the sky ever since the 26th of December. We are a month into the new solar year, and the day will soon be almost three quarters of an hour longer than it was four weeks ago, for the first time since November.

While today’s weather may or may not reflect these changes, cumulative records reveal a climatic shift in which all of the events of January’s final week unbalance and change the course of winter.

In Late Winter, highs often shoot up above 50 degrees, and a day in the 70s suddenly becomes possible. A thunderstorm even occurs one year out of ten.

By the 27th, the first dandelions can be flowering, snow crocus and henbit budding. Sometimes moss is growing on logs, and pussy willows stretch out from their hulls. Sometimes tulip and grape hyacinth leaves pierce the ground. Sometimes day lily foliage is up three inches, daffodil spears four to eight inches.

When the sun is strong enough for all of that to happen, then flies hatch to warm themselves on the south side of your house, and multicolored Asian ladybeetles crawl out from hibernation in search of early prey, their soft presence on the delicate scales of time tipping the balance to spring.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the second week of Late Winter. In the meantime, Groundhog Day is just a week from now. No matter what he says or does, spring is on the way.

Copyright 2021 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.

Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.