Friday we received our first snow storm of the winter considerably later than normal. Usually we have snow flurries as early as October with some accumulation in November and even heavy accumulation in December. This year we received no accumulation until January. Why is that a concern? Snowfall is part of the annual precipitation for the area. Those in rural communities growing commercially know a low snowfall can mean the soil is too dry in the spring. Spring runoff from the thawing ground and melting snow makes its way to ditches where it ends up running into tertiary and secondary waterways. It replenishes the marshlands that is home to a large variety of waterfowl and other wildlife. In the end the spring thaw ends up in the Great Lakes and connecting waterways.
In recent years we have seen falling water levels in the waters in the Great Lakes waterways. We live on the water so see first hand the falling levels. We have a boat and have heard some insurance companies will no longer insure some boats because of the lower water levels. This past summer we saw unseasonably cold with a bit more rain than normal but not enough to compensate for the drier fall and lack of precipitation so far this winter. I don't know if these changing weather patterns are part of a normal weather cycle or a further indication of global warming. At any rate the lack of precipitation in our area will affect our growing season this year.