From childhood I knew of Spring “winters” – knew the names, what to watch for and how to designate which “winter” we were having here in Middle Tennessee. (Different locations experience it at different times – 400 miles South of here cranks things forward a month, maybe more, and squeezes them tighter together, time-wise.)
In my neighborhood, two Spring “winters” preceded the “official” winters – Tulip Magnolia Winter (mid to late February/early March) and Pear Winter (early to mid March). Our next door neighbor had a beautiful Tulip tree – every year, while it was in full bloom, a hard freeze would turn the beautiful pink blossoms brown. You could count on it. Across the street, lived a tall pear tree. If it came into bloom, I wore my heavy jacket to school without complaint.
Redbud Winter is the first official Spring “winter” recognized by the locals. It’s a hard cold snap that happens when Redbud trees bloom (late March, early April).
Within a few days, the weather returns to Spring-like temperatures for a couple of weeks and then bottoms out again when Dogwood trees bloom – Dogwood Winter (early to mid April).
Four official Spring “winters:”
Yesterday, I learned there are five.
A local news weather prognosticator said the 80+ degree temperatures we’ve enjoyed the past few days will give way to cooler temperatures after the cold front moves through. By cooler temperatures he meant highs in the lower 70’s during the day and 50’s at night. He declared it “Cotton Britches Winter.”
I’d heard of Linsey Woolsey Winter. Folks in Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky know that’s when it’s time to pack away your winter clothes and pull out your summer (mid to late May)
Perhaps “Cotton Britches Winter” means we can put on our light weight cotton britches and pack away the wool ones. 😉 Or, perhaps it means we thought Blackberry Winter was the last cool snap and we got caught with our cotton britches down.
In any event, let’s not forget about Whippoorwill Winter (late May, early June). Summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21.