The harbingers of spring are everywhere.
It hasn’t snowed for, like, hours. Bare patches of brown grass are clearly visible. Mud is beginning to form atop the rock hard ground.
Spring, technically, is here. It arrived at 11:57 a.m. Thursday with the arrival of the vernal equinox. Starting today, the days will grow longer, the nights shorter.
Getting here was not easy. We just slogged through one of the harshest winters on record.
“We haven’t seen anything like this in the Joliet area for a long time,” said Jeremy Hylka, director of the Joliet Weather Center. “For so long we have had above-average mild winters. Countless people are just waiting for spring to arrive.”
The phenomenon of heavy snows followed by cold arctic air has been a regular pattern in a winter that has produced:
• 75.2 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service in Romeoville. That’s the third most on record, behind 85 inches in 1978-79 and 81 inches in 1977-78.
• 33 days below zero, according to the National Weather Service.
• 20.8 degree average temperature statewide in December, January and February. That’s 8.2 degrees below average and the fourth coldest on record, according to the State Climatologist Office for Illinois.
Our last possible frost day is May 6, according to the Old Farmers Almanac.
And while it doesn’t appear that flowers will be popping up anytime soon, rest assured that other spring portents will, namely trash bags and potholes