Finally time to put snow shovel away

1:25 PM, May 20, 2013  |  Comments
This spring's first daffodil south of the county line.
This spring's first daffodil south of the county line.
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It's the season when degrees are presented to worthy recipients at high school and college commencement ceremonies from Maine to California.

Those who have reached certain heights get their diplomas, bachelor's and master's degrees, and doctorates in ceremonies where the participants wear clothes they wouldn't normally be caught dead in, step on stage and receive a piece of paper that says they've learned something.

There are speeches and accolades, often followed by a party where fond memories are recalled.

I'm about to convey B.S., M.S. and P.H.D. recognitions from my own criteria - based on heights - that I gleaned this week from a U.S. government agency not currently under Congressional scrutiny.

That would be the National Weather Service - or more correctly the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The weather folks just released data on snowfall amounts this past winter at various Wisconsin locations. It's a "preliminary report," I'd guess because - with the way this spring has unfolded - it may not be the final tabulation.

We'll focus in this discussion on ten communities - seven of them in Door County.

In the context I'm about to expound, B.S. stands for "Bunch of Snow;" M.S. means "More Snow;" P.H.D. represents "Piled Higher and Deeper."

We'll start with Kewaunee, which NOAA reported received less snow this past winter than any other location in the northeast quadrant of Wisconsin: 43.1 inches. In academic terms, Kewaunee gets a B.S. for passing with a "C average."

The village of Forestville, with a "B average," also gets a B.S. designation, for 57.8 inches.

By my standards, Sturgeon Bay (64.0 inches), Egg Harbor (64.6 inches) and Ephraim (64.9 inches) all obtain B.S. status with an "A average."

Casco tried a little harder, and I grade their snowfall an "A-plus" with 68.2 inches.

The candidates for M.S. status include Washington Island, Green Bay and Fish Creek. Snowfall on the island accumulated 71.4 inches (nearly 6 feet) from first flurries last fall to the final plowing in Mid-April.

Green Bay - measured at the NOAA office near Austin Straubel International Airport -logged 74.2-inches.

And here's an odd one I suspect some old-timers can explain: The snowfall recorded at Fish Creek this past winter was 79 inches.

I label it odd because communities on either side of Fish Creek - Egg Harbor and Ephraim - had nearly 15 inches less accumulation.

The candidate I select for a P.H.D. - actually a P.M.H.D. (Piled Much Higher and Deeper) - is the most northwestern community in this region commonly called Northeastern Wisconsin.

The Town of Winchester, in Vilas County, received 132.5 inches of snow. That's 11 feet, inch.

The NOAA report noted the ground in Winchester remained snow-covered last week, the first full week of May.

I looked up the town on the Internet.

One report said Winchester had a 2000 population of 454 and a 2010 population of 383. Could it be that in one decade, 71 folks "had it up to here" with all that snow and moved? Or were they snowed under and have never been seen again?

When you get 11 feet of snow in one winter, the prospect of the scant 3 feet that was Kewaunee's accumulation must certainly look good.

Alas, although my snow total would only be a guesstimate, this house I occupy just south of the county line is not the garden spot that is the county seat 20 miles or so down the coast.

There's a woman down in Tennessee who from time to time reads and comments on these words I assemble.

Last time I complained about the cold and snow - maybe six weeks back - she sent me photos of spring in her region.

I could now return the favor, since I snapped a picture Thursday of a daffodil, the first spring flower in my yard.

At this rate, I ought to have pictures of lilacs by Flag Day.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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