Winter may be ending, but impact will linger on

THIS MIGHT JUST BE the winter that keeps on giving. That’s on top of being the winter that seemed like it would never end.

After snow and frigid temperatures that just kept coming, we’ve finally reached more seasonable weather, and not a moment too soon.

While we may still dip below freezing in the days to come, we should have put the sub-zero temperatures and Polar Vortices behind us – for this winter at least.

But that doesn’t mean the lingering impact of the unseasonably cold winter we endured aren’t still being felt – and will be for a while.

In many communities across the state – including parts of Plymouth and Sheboygan County – residents are still being advised to keep cold water running slightly in one faucet in their home to prevent frozen pipes – even while temperatures climb into the 30s, 40s and even 50s.

That’s because, while the air above ground may be warming up, below the ground deep frost – to the depth of many water pipes – remains, and will remain for some time yet.

While we warm up quickly, that frost will take longer to warm and disappear, meaning the danger of freezing pipes remains.

Residents who have been advised to keep water running should continue to do so until they are advised otherwise by their local water utility – after the frost danger has passed.

One sign that the frost is finally coming out of the ground is when melting snow begins draining down into the soil instead of running off – and that’s probably still a little way off yet.

Which raises another potential impact of the long, cold winter – the potential for flooding or high waters as the snow pack melts off.

Officials will be keeping an eye on that, and residents should be ready for that potential as well.

That danger will eventually pass as well, but even then there will lingering impacts from our long, cold winter.

Experts predict higher water levels in the Great Lakes and other bodies of water as a result of the extreme cold – which has frozen lakes to a level and depth not often seen – and the high levels of snowfall this winter.

That will be a welcome impact, as lower lake levels in the Great Lakes and elsewhere for a number of years.

Of course, all that melting ice and snow runoff going into the lakes will be cold water, which could mean lower water temperatures and a challenge for those who swim in those lakes in the summer.

Which also makes this past winter one that keeps on giving.

At issue:
Winter weather impacts
Bottom line:
Still being felt


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