Wednesday January 08, 2014 | 10:31 AM
Posted by David Epstein

Although deep cold continues across the region this morning most areas in the single numbers and I couldn’t find any readings between Portland and Fryeburg below zero.  The wind won’t be what it was on Monday, but will still be a factor, especially before noon when temperatures are lowest.

You can follow updates to the forecast and share your weather and gardening question on Twitter @growingwisdom

Snowy winter thus far

It’s been a busy winter thus far with plenty of snow.  Even though Portland lost about ½ of its snow cover in the mild air earlier this week, we still see around half a foot on the ground.  Officially, bare ground has been absent since the morning of December 9th when a trace was reported.   How does this compare to a typical winter?

Averages are funny thing, unless we look very deeply into the specifics of a particular year, we aren’t aware how the average came about.  For example, last winter most of our snow came in the second half of the season.  If you compare the total snow for the winter of 2012-2013, you would see nearly double the “normal” amount.  Yet, the first part of winter wasn’t so tough and spring came relatively quickly. 

This year, Portland has received over 3 feet of snow, about a foot higher than the previous winter and well above normal for this early.  For this season, we have had an inch or more of snow on the ground for about 30 days already.  Usually, that number is about 70 for the entire season.  At the current rate, we would surpass average sometime in February.  Last year we didn’t see our permanent winter snow cover arrive until post-Christmas.

We just over a week into January and don’t know yet how much more snow will fall through mid-March.  If history is any indication, we won’t see too many bare lawns for a while.  Of course there is a bit of mild weather this weekend and if we get rain along with temperatures in the 40s, some areas along the coast could be void of snow come Monday.

There will be more arctic air building next week and signs point to renewed cold sometime after the middle of the month.   It remains to be seen how the cold air flows into the country and who gets the coldest of air.

Slowly less cold

Sunshine will dominate the sky the next few days, but it’s still going to be a very cold initially.  Highs will range from 15 in the hills to 20 in Portland this afternoon.  Another cold night lies ahead with a slightly less cold day Thursday, about 3-7 degrees milder.  The wind will also have relaxed a bit more tomorrow.

Friday begins to see a recovery in temperature readings although we don’t go above freezing until the following day.  The cold is tough, and will take a southwest breeze to really dislodge it from the area.

By Saturday the air mass has completely changed.  Temperatures will be spring-like with highs nearing 43F in the afternoon.  There will be rain showers moving through by night fall and if you are a Patriots fan, it looks like it could be a warm, windy and wet game.

Great flowering houseplants If you are getting the winter blues, how about picking up a calla lily to brighten up your house? Check out this video where I show you how they grow.

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About the Author

David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.

In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.

David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.

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