Daylight saving time kicks in this weekend and the first full moon of March was big and bold over Wyoming this week, but that’s about all there is to indicate spring may be close.
It’s that March full moon, called a worm moon, that’s a traditional harbinger of spring, said Cowboy State Daily Meteorologist Don Day.
“The March full moon is supposed to mean we’re starting to go into spring,” he said.
It’s called a worm moon because that’s when the worms “come wriggling out of the ground as it thaws,” Day said. “It’s the hopeful moon, it’s the moon that says spring might be on the way.”
Well, not so fast.
While people looking up at night this week have seen that worm moon ¬– it was at its fullest Tuesday – looking down shows it’s still full-on winter.
“In my backyard, the ground is still very firmly frozen,” Day said, adding that the worm moon may be a better indicator “for other parts of the country.”
Even if what’s been a brutal winter for much of Wyoming will last a little longer, the full moon is still a sight to see, Day said.
“I actually saw it rise. It was pretty cool, because when you get the full moon on the horizon, it’s pretty big,” he said.
A Moon By Any Other Name
While the moon this week has had an orange tinge to it, calling it a worm moon has nothing to do with its appearance like a blood moon, Day said.
“It’s not like the blood moon where a lot of that (color) has to do with the shadow on the moon or the atmosphere at the time,” he said.
Many American Indian tribes know the worm moon as the “hard crust snow moon.”
While the full worm moon may not be accurate this year, the birds usually are, Day said.
“This time of year, I will get the occasional email saying someone saw their first robin or bluebird, but I haven’t heard from the bird people yet,” he said. “If you see those critters, they usually know better than we do.”
Until those spring birds start showing up again, Day said Wyoming residents can expect some more winter.
This weekend, “the northern and southern mountains are going to see a good chunk of snow, but the wind is going to make it a little warmer,” he said, adding the plains aren’t set for much snow.
Then it will warm up a little next week.
While nobody is reporting robins, Day said he’s hearing plenty from around the state about this winter. In Laramie, they’re unhappy with a lack of snow, while in other places like Casper and Lander they’ve had too much.
“Either way, they are done with this winter and they’re cranky,” he said.