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Get the tissues ready! Spring’s arrival is 1-3 weeks earlier than normal

Central Alabama is running well ahead of schedule for Spring leaf out this year
Spring Leaf Index as of February 25th, 2021.
Spring Leaf Index as of February 25th, 2021.(USA National Phenology Network)
Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 8:06 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The calendar may say February still, but Mother Nature doesn’t seem to care. Spring has arrived in Central Alabama here in 2021. That’s according to the latest updates from USA National Phenology Network.

As of the February 25th report, all of Alabama is firmly included on the “Spring Leaf Index” map that shows areas in which leaf out has occurred for species that are typically active in early spring.

Spring leaf out has occurred a whopping 1-3 weeks earlier than normal in Central Alabama.
Spring leaf out has occurred a whopping 1-3 weeks earlier than normal in Central Alabama.(USA National Phenology Network)

Central and South Alabama were included back in early to middle February!

This “leaf out” pretty much means that species active in early spring have already shown their first leaves.

Not only have leaves begun to show themselves here in Central Alabama, but they are doing so very early on. According to USA National Phenology Network, we are seeing our spring leaf out 1-3 weeks ahead of when we typically see it.

both January and February were above normal.
both January and February were above normal.(WSFA 12 News)

This is probably attributed to both January and February running above normal -- albeit not by much -- in the temperature department. We were about 3 degrees above normal in January, and we’re just above the normal line so far in February.

Not only have temperatures been just above average so far in 2021, but we’ve had more unseasonably warm days than we have unseasonably cold days. Again, not by much, but it still counts for something.

We've had an up and down year so far with plenty of cold nights and warm afternoons.
We've had an up and down year so far with plenty of cold nights and warm afternoons.(WSFA 12 News)

We’ve seen plenty of days in the middle 60s to middle 70s, but we’ve also had plenty of subfreezing mornings across the region. There’s been just enough warmth compared to cold, though, to support an early arrival of spring when looking at leafing.

The result of spring arriving early according to this measure is the early arrival of tree pollen and allergies. Looking forward, it doesn’t look like a great weekend for those who suffer from allergies.

Pollen -- especially tree -- is increasing quickly. Allergies are jumping as a result.
Pollen -- especially tree -- is increasing quickly. Allergies are jumping as a result.(WSFA 12 News)

And even beyond this weekend we will maintain medium to possibly even high allergy counts as more species continue to leaf and then eventually bloom. So get those tissues and allergy medications ready!

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