What Are the Three Cold Spells after Spring?
Don't pack up your winter sweaters and jackets just yet.
Most of us around upper east Tennessee know that it’s a little too soon to pack up all our winter sweaters and jackets just yet. Even though the spring flowers are blooming and the birds are singing we might just have a few more cold spells before we can say good-bye to the cold winter air and forget the bad snows and winter of 2010-2011 completely.
Each year during this time in the mountains of east Tennessee, a spectacular transition takes place. It’s not that it always happens on the same date, but you can pretty well bet on it happening in similar fashion year after year, and it seems to hold a particular sequence in happening. Some of us old timers get tickled when the ‘flat-land foreigners' who are really transplants from other sections of the country seem to get confused as to just which cold spell we are havin’ at the time. They are never able to get it straight and it is a mite amusing over-hearing one mistakenly says just which season we happen to be experiencing at that particular time. I know, I’ve probably got a lot o’folk wondering, “Just what is he talking about?” while others very well know I’m just speaking of our annual phenomenon of spring cold spells.
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All a fella has to do is just look around...
All a fella has to do is just look around and he could see that things are a happenin’, but strangers and ‘new comers’ around here are just too busy tryin’ to get adjusted to even notice that nature is in conflict with itself. It seems the weather just can’t quite make up its mind as to whether it is spring yet or still winter. So after a week or so of warm weather where we all get our mowers tuned up and maybe even mow once or twice, the flowers are blooming and the birds are singin’ then it gets cold again for a short spell. If it is just after the spring equinox and we find the fruit trees trying to ‘put out’ a little then we look at the old redbud trees which are about to bloom; all the old timers know this cold spell is probably ‘redbud winter’.
local climate folklore
Now that’s not too hard, is it? But if you just happen to run into one of these transplants, and to show their tremendous amount of intelligence in local norms and mores that their mouths flies open before they think and say, “Is this Blackberry Winter…” The locals just look around at one another and chuckle a little, shaken our heads. God has a pattern for everything you know, it says so right in the Bible – “everything according to its season”. While we locals have never seen the Blackberries bloom before the Dogwood much less the Redbud, we just let those with all that strange wisdom skillfully place their own foot right in their mouth.
If one was to look closer into local climate folklore they would see that the cold snap cycles seem to follow the blooming of the redbud, the dogwood, and then the blackberry vines. Some ole timers even call one Honey Locust Winter if we happen to have a fourth cold spell. Locals that follow the winters see them occurring at three or four distinct cold snaps every year. The Cherokee Indians even used these unseasonal cold spells to plant their crops.
© 2011 SamSonS