Arb Sightings 2/25/11

Posted on February 25th, 2011 by

All bets are off, folks. Here in St. Peter we received our biggest snow storm of the winter on Sunday and Monday — officially a full-on blizzard that dropped around 17 inches of wet, heavy snow. The majority of the accumulation came on Sunday; however the snowfall persisted beyond what any meteorologists had predicted and finally ceased at 8pm Monday night. And here’s the kicker; we’re now back to the level of snow accumulation that we saw before the melting began two weekends ago. Some parts of the Twin Cities received similar totals, but overall received just under the amounts from early December’s blizzard. The daily high temperatures have cooled down as expected, but with a couple days around freezing at the beginning of the week some snow melt has occurred in addition to the sublimation that occurs on sunny days like today. We’ve got a chance of some snow late tonight and tomorrow, and then not until later next week as temperatures should begin to hover around freezing again.

On top of the hill in the Coneflower Prairie one day after the blizzard, 2/22/11.

And just like that, the threat of major flooding has returned. After all that good melting that occurred last week, the ground became saturated. Barring another significant precipitation event, things were looking good; then we received our biggest snow accumulation event of the winter, and this most recent snow has nowhere to go but into the river. The saving grace will now have to come from a few days of gradual melting in the 30’s; any days of highs in the 40’s or higher are going to spell trouble for those living in or near the Minnesota River’s floodplain.

Here are some other highlights from this week in the Arb:

– Pair (male and female) of Northern Cardinals feeding on fallen seeds beneath feeders behind Interpretive Center 2/24

– Fresh rodent tracks (probably mice and voles) in snow near Jim Gilbert Teaching Pond 2/22

– Horned Larks giving their high-pitched, two-note “dee-deep” calls high above Interpretive Center 2/21 (these are the first spring migrants to return to southern Minnesota)


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