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John Wheeler: Spring happens fast in the Northern Plains

This weekend, the crab apple trees are in full blossom where two weeks ago there was not a leaf to be seen.

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FARGO โ€” In the Northern Plains, spring happens fast. Some springs are faster than others, but this year was very nearly instantaneous. The snow did not start to melt until April and it took most of April to melt. But underneath the snow, the ground temperature was warmer than average due to the blanket of deep snow cover all winter. This allowed the ground to warm up quickly and that, as much as the weather pattern, is why spring has sprung so spryly.

This weekend, the crab apple trees are in full blossom where two weeks ago there was not a leaf to be seen. The weather, too, has been mostly much warmer than average since the snow melted away. In the southern part of the United States, where this old forecaster spent his childhood, spring is a much longer season, lasting the better part of three months. Around here, if you are gone for a week in spring, you will return to a different world.

John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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