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Weather: winter on hold for another week in Latvia

Above-zero temperatures are set to stay in place throughout much of this week, keeping true winter at bay and frustrating skiers and skaters for another seven days, according to the latest forecasts.

Monday morning snowfall will not last long with the temperature in positive temperature by midday.

Atlantic cyclones, which continue to carry heat from the ocean, preventing the intrusion of colder Arctic air masses from the north or continental air masses from Russia and thus keeping milder temperatures in place.

Southerly and westerly winds will prevail throughout the week, gusty at times. There will also be plenty of precipitation, mainly in the form of rain, with some snowfall in the east of the country. However, as with Monday's snowfall, it is unlikely to stay on the ground more than a few hours.

Wednesday is likely to be the warmest, wettest and windiest day of the week. 

The air temperature, both at night and during the day, will be mostly in the range of +1 to + 7 degrees Celsius. Again, eastern districts will be slightly cooler, dipping down to - 2 Celsius at night.

 some nights, mostly in the eastern part of the country, to 0 ..- 2 degrees.

Long-term forecasts still strongly suggest that the weather in Latvia will remain significantly warmer than the norm thru January and February, which may be good news for people paying metered heating bills but a cause of concern for owners of winter sports centers.

The ultimate confirmation that temperatures are currently far higher than normal has come with the news that maple trees are already generating delicious sap or juice, eagerly harvested by coinnoisseurs of the 2020 vintage (see picture above).

As reported by LTV, maple juice farmer Ervins Labanovskis, owner of "Cenaži" farm near Smiltene extracted his first juice on New Year's Eve, meaning that fresh maple juice was on the table to herald the new year, much to the surprise of his guests. He has tapped several more trees near his home over the past few days, with the total now around 100.

"We've not tried it this early in the past, but I suspected it might happen. However, under normal circumstances, December should be minus temperatures," said Labanovskis. 

This is the first time the farm has tapped maple trees this early. Usually they start around the end of February or the beginning of March. However this unseasonable winter has caused several processes to be turned on their head.

“For maple trees the sap production mechanism is activated at minus degrees, and a week ago it was -7 here, which was followed by a thaw. This way it can produce sap for the whole or half of winter, unlike birch trees,” said Labanovskis.

This will be the first year that the sap gathered on the farm will be available to consumers, and if enough is tapped, maple syrup as well. The latest weather reports show that this year January could be the warmest on record.

Maple juice can be drunk neat as a healthy and sweet draught, or it can be boiled down into syrups, sugars and other products. Traditionally its arrival is one of the surest signs that Spring has sprung.

Usually, the maples start to pump the sweet sap in late February or early March, with the birch trees following a fe couple of weeks later. However, the unusually mild winter of this year seems to have interfered with the usual cycle of nature. You can see the LTV news report - yes,in Latvia this is national news - below.


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