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Warm winter could spell a dry spring, ahead of wildfire season

Bright yellow daffodils are happy to bloom in the spring!
Courtesy photo
Peggy Brisbane
Bright yellow daffodils are a sign of spring.

Cloudy skies, flecks of snow and temperatures slowly rising with bouts of cold are all common features of spring weather in Michigan.

Coming off a warm winter, Joseph Delizio, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord, said much of northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula is still in a drought.

"We had higher levels than that a few weeks ago, but we started to get some precipitation more recently," Delizio said. "That does help the drought certainly, whether it's snow or rain."

Delizio said it's too early to predict fire season, which starts between April and May, but wildfire risk could be high this spring.

"If you string together several days or a week or two of below normal precipitation and dry conditions, it could certainly be somewhat concerning as we continue to head into the fire season," Delizio said.

Delizio said Michigan offices are keeping a close eye on fire conditions and storm events this spring.

Great Lakes ice cover has dissipated after a historically low season. Visit the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab to review data from this past season.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.
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