Spring Checkup: Where Are We Now?

Daffodils in Pittsburgh, 18 March 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

21 March 2024

After a slow start to spring in the southern part of the U.S., spring is spreading more quickly now across the central part of the country. Des Moines, IA is 20 days early, Detroit, MI is 23 days early, and Cleveland, OH is 16 days early compared to a long-term average of 1991-2020.

USA National Phenology Network: Status of Spring, 18 March 2024

Though it’s only 23°F this morning in Pittsburgh we, too, are having a very early spring. Just three days ago I photographed daffodils and many flowering trees in my neighborhood.

Flowering Callery pear in Pittsburgh, 18 March 2024 (photo by Kate St. John)

Today’s low temperature feels like an aberration compared to what we’ve come to expect this “winter” with highs in 60s and 70s. Dark red on the map below shows how early spring is across the continental US. In Pittsburgh it’s 20 days early.

US Spring Leaf Index Anomaly as of 20 March 2024 (map from USA National Phenology Network)

Do you see the reddish dot on Detroit? March has been insanely warm for them (see below). Pull the graph for your zip code at NPN’s Visualization Tools.

Accumulated Growing Degree Days in Detroit, MI for 2024 as of 21 Mar 2024 (graph from USA NPN Visualization Tool)

Watch spring move north faster than 13 miles a day in this animation from the USA National Phenology Network.

Spring Leaf Index Anomaly animation, a synthetic measure of leaf out based on recent temperature conditions from USA NPN

(credits are in the captions)

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