Signs of spring come early

The state meteorology center reports that as of the middle of last week, when the average air temperature was above freezing, and in light of temperatures remaining so for the foreseeable future, the meteorological spring has arrived a month earlier than usual.

Nevertheless, the weather mark comes slightly later than it did last year, when temperatures rose above zero as early in the season as February 7.

This has nothing to do with forecasting future freezes this season, however, and weather services predict plenty of nights of below zero weather, but that average temps will be in the plus ranges mostly.

Hazelnuts and alders are beginning to bud and the first snowdrops have crept out to bloom. The tapping of maple trees for their sap juice has already begun in the first half of February, the snow cover has melted in most of the land (remaining only in the far northeast).

Also, bird watchers have noticed several spring migratory birds returning to Latvia in the past couple of days, according to information published on "Latvijasputni.lv".

The common kestrel was noticed in the vicinity of Pape Lake already on February 13, as this bird tends to return very early after the winter period. Several days later, ornithologists noticed about 20 gray geese and several greylag geese in the vicinity of the lake, as well as a number of whooper swans in Aizpute Region. Another whooper swan was noticed also in Daugavpils. A hen harrier, another spring migratory bird, was seen in Madona Region.

Several northern lapwings were noticed near the city of Liepaja at the end of the week. A number of sky larks were also seen in Liepaja.

The beginning of next week will be windy and rainy, but relatively warm. Temperatures at night might drop to around zero degree Celsius, while temperatures during the day will reach four to five degrees Celsius.

Winds and rains are expected to die down towards the end of next week, as temperatures will drop a bit below zero at night, while temperatures during the day will be above zero degrees.

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