In warmer urban areas spring has made lots of progress with flowers, bushes and shrubs in bloom and blossoms on the tress budding with a colorful array of spring beauty.
In our woods and along our roadsides the ugliness of our discarded trash is giving way to a camouflage of new spring green which will hide from view some of the millions of bottles, cans and other items tossed out the windows as we travel our local roads.
In the mountains spring arrives a few weeks later and you can check its progress as it climbs the mountains, spreading a canopy of green up the mountain sides.
Closer to the ground wildflowers are blooming everywhere and what bloomed in the lower elevations last week will be showing off its color in the mountains next week.
Mountain temperatures are usually about 5 degrees cooler due to elevation and these cooler temperatures hold spring back from 10 days to two weeks. The rule of thumb for elevation and temperature is that for each 1,000-foot increase in elevation the temperature drops by 5 degrees. The elevation for Uniontown is 997 feet above seas level and nearby mountains are mostly over 2,000 feet although Mt. Davis in Somerset county sits at 3,213 and can actually be about 10 degrees colder than Uniontown.
We did have a bit of snow last week especially in the mountains and this past Friday has a call for snow showers again in the mountains due to their colder temperatures. Snow is possible on any day in April and usually after May 1st it is highly unlikely.
On the 28th of April way back in 1928, 39 inches of snow fell in Somerset, Pennsylvania and the city of Uniontown had eight inches of heavy wet snow. The mountains just east of town had over 20 inches and the Uniontown paper headlines called traffic “demoralized” due to the snow.
On May 1st,, 1963, Uniontown had 1.7 inches and Pittsburgh recorded two inches. May 9th, 1966 again saw snow fall throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania with Pittsburgh reporting three inches and lesser amounts elsewhere. You may recall that after a mild winter last year snow again fell on May 9th with 1-3 inches across most areas and temperatures in the low-to-mid 20s wreaked a lot of havoc with local gardens and plants.
Frost is possible in May but unlikely in the city after the 1st and unlikely in out-lying areas after the 15th. Mountain areas can see frost until the end of the month but again it’s pretty rare after the 20th.
The late season cold snap last year followed a very mild winter which pushes plants ahead of schedule and makes them even more susceptible to a late season invasion of cold air.
Another area of progress was the article in this past Wednesday’ s Herald-Standard concerning the letter that some 300 business leaders sent to the administration urging an ambitious approach to the need to deal with our changing climate.
They welcome a bold approach that will create many good paying jobs in the energy and transportation sectors and move toward a reduction in the climate destruction policies of the past.
It was also interesting to see these leaders at odds with The Republican Party over the need to get on board with the climate scientists to combat the issue of climate.