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What About Spring? 05/03/2013

Posted by zoidion in Climate, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: The sky has cleared, mostly, after a day and a half of on-, off- and on-again snowfall—about eight inches in my backyard, officially nine at the airport. It’s the second biggest snowfall of the season, bringing the total to 44.5 inches—actually above average for this date.

I haven’t seen an official report of the moisture content of this snow, but from my own shoveling and roof-raking experience it’s definitely wetter than the previous snowfall of two weeks ago. (Only a non-astrological weather observer would be surprised by any of this.)

This is cause for guarded optimism about the prospects for the start of the growing season, but as I’ve pointed out before, much depends on whether this surface covering of snow is able to penetrate the now-frozen ground. The Minnesota Climatology Working Group is on top of the situation, as is the U.S. Drought Monitor; the former’s web site makes the present situation plain: “Roughly 70 percent of Minnesota’s landscape is in Extreme Drought or Severe Drought. Subsoil moisture across 88 percent of Minnesota’s landscape was said to be Short or Very Short as of October 31st. Because of frozen soils, this statistic will describe the soil moisture condition throughout the winter.”

Many around here are by now quite weary of the white stuff, but I’m content to let spring take her sweet time in getting here. I have more time for these investigations before the busyness of garden work. But I am getting ready: I’ve got kale and collard seedlings going in the sunroom, where I have a shop light hanging over them to urge them on through the night. And I’ve now taken the second in a series of classes and field trips to learn about seed-saving; one of my most exciting recent occasions was last week at the first meeting, when I looked around the room at a group of thirty or so urban dwellers, many of them twenty-somethings, all of them looking quite eager to learn this new but ancient knowledge.

So what about spring? For the general temperature indications and moisture potential for the Twin Cities area, the clues lie in the chart for 20 March 2013, 6:02 am CDT—when the Sun arrives at exactly 0 degrees of Aries. There are indications of much heat—record-breaking heat—and strongly disruptive events, but not for here. I say that because in that chart the Sun is close to both Mars and Uranus, and Aries is a fire sign. There is also indication of very wet, in some cases record-breaking, conditions—but again, not here: the Moon in water sign Cancer is closely connected to Sun-Mars-Uranus.

(The Sun-Mars-Uranus “effect” will be most potent with respect to weather patterns and events through the band of longitude that runs north-south through Hawaii and western Alaska.)

The main indicator—half of the factors, according to C.C. Zain’s Weather Predicting—of conditions here is the air sign Gemini on the lower meridian, with fair-weather planet Jupiter in close conjunction. Jupiter’s indication is for moderately-increasing temperature, which tempers the cool signal of Gemini. Humidity is apt to be generally lower than usual for this zone.

Aries-Ingress-2013

Another quarter of the forecasting factors is the Ascendant or rising sign, which in this case is air sign Aquarius—the coldest of the signs. Saturn, now in water sign Scorpio, is the “lord” of Aquarius, denoting that spring will bring some moisture, some relief from the worst of the drought.

The fact that Mars, “lord” of Aries, will already be there when the Sun arrives, is a sign of greater than usual turbulence in the atmosphere. But where? With reference to North America, New England (especially Maine) and the Canadian province of Quebec are most marked by Mars (and Uranus). Tornadoes are highly unlikely in that part of the world, but look for some kind of unusual phenomenon, especially when the Sun crosses those positions on March 26-28.

ARingress2013-astromap

For the heartland of the continent, however, good growing weather, though remaining somewhat on the dry side, appears to be the rule of the season. (Energy and water-intensive agriculture remains on notice that it is fundamentally unsustainable.*) And I expect a relatively quiet season in tornado-prone regions of the southern plains. 2013 looks like a break in the recent run of extreme heat.

As for the storm that just passed through here, on the way to the East Coast, it’s been an excellent manifestation of the prime factor in this week’s moisture chart: Saturn in water sign Scorpio, symbolizing heavier precipitation via a slow-moving storm. This one was an Alberta Clipper that uncharacteristically crawled across the region.

* The best non-technical summary I’ve seen of the current house-of-cards situation regarding this country’s energy economy is John Michael Greer’s “The End of the Shale Bubble?”

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