Every spring, people say that "flowers & trees are coming out earlier than last year." But this year, they really are out early! I set out to prove it, by comparing photos I took last year, to this one. Here's a comparison of a maple tree budding in my front yard on March 17 -- WAY ahead of its progress on April 2, 2011, when it was covered with snow.
Speaking of "covered with snow" -- here's a photo of my Daffodils under snow on Feb. 14, 2012. They started coming up in late January, and I have no photos to compare that to, because it's never happened before.
And it's not just here in State College, Pa., check out these pictures from York, Pennsylvania that I took over the weekend. In the first, the tree that was flowering on April 24, 2011 has already finished and come out with leaves, and the other trees around it are ahead as well.
And last but not least, a picture of my girlfriend under the flowering tree at her house. Note that (at the very least) the tree flowers are similar, if not ahead of time in the 2012 photo.
Based on these pictures, I would estimate that flora is 3-5 weeks ahead of time. This is significant because it rarely varies more than a week, but that's what a record warm winter and March gets you.
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Over 1,000 snow and cold records have been set over the last 30 days in the winter that won't end.
The March Nor'easter dropped 39 inches of snow and had 100 mph winds.
Two webcams in California and Montana show massive differences in snow compared to last winter.
Believe it or not, heavy snow is unusual in Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day.