What the what?

It’s 50˚ in Cable.

Screen Shot 2023-02-08 at 15.39.00Please don’t panic. Too much.

There’s plenty of snow in Birkieland and warm, dry, calm weather won’t do much to it. Four main factors determine snowmelt: temperature, sun, wind and humidity. A day like today has two of them, but the dry air should inhibit some melting and without a strong breeze the cold snow should keep the air at the surface cold as well. Here are a couple of explainers about this process.

With a bit more than two weeks before the race, it would be disconcerting if it was going to be 50˚ and sunny every day before the race (and that might be high; Hayward airport is only reporting 44˚). It is also dropping into the 20s or colder overnight; it was 13˚ last night in Hayward,  meaning the snowpack further down will stay cold. Plus, the groomed Birkie Trail is compacted enough that it takes a lot to actually melt the already-groomed snow.

It’s possible that in some cases, the south-facing hills could begin to get a bit thin, but the Birkie can probably move snow there if needed. Another concern would be high flows in the Namekagon thinning out the lake, but days like today if the surface melts, it won’t have time to percolate through the snowpack and feed streams and rivers before refreezing (or evaporating, or sublimating). So don’t get too concerned. Yet.

Longer-term forecasts show more bend-but-don’t-break weather for Birkieland. Mostly dry and warmer than average, but only into the 30s during the day most days, with colder nights. Unless a major rainstorm or a real spell of hot weather shows up—neither appears in the forecast—Birkie weather watches should be able to breathe rather easily. For now.

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