Alabama springs are pleasantly unpredictable

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2006

Springtime in south Alabama is probably the trickiest part of the year. It isn’t quite time for steady warm temperatures, which means there is always a little cool air hanging around.

While most people will agree our springs are pleasant, there is a certain amount of mystery from mid-February until the end of May each year.

But, there are also several items – both positive and negative – that a person can always count on.

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The most obvious and intriguing characteristic of the spring season in this area is no matter how warm it is, there is always a cold front waiting in the shadows. While I was at Demopolis High School’s prom taking pictures this weekend this was painfully obvious to some of the young ladies sporting their finest gowns.

All week long the weather was perfect. There was no other way to describe it. Temperatures were in the high 70’s and low 80’s during the day and at night, they rarely dropped below 55 or 60 degrees.

Unfortunately, Saturday night all that changed. The historic first DHS prom ever held outdoors was a little cooler than expected. Shortly after the pictures were snapped, most girls were running for jackets.

Fortun-ately, cold weather was the only obstacle they faced. If their luck had not been better, they might have fallen victim to the second most reliable aspect of spring weather…rain. Growing up, it seemed like any time we wanted to do anything during the spring months rain was sure to come. I always understood the whole April showers bring May flowers bit, but often wondered why those showers couldn’t come during the week when we were all inside.

The rains this time of year are normally so frequent that it is best to just assume there is a possibility of showers no matter what you are doing. Most people involved in athletics get the opportunity to utter the phrase “make-up game” at least 5,000 times. There is no stopping the wet weather when spring rolls around.

But, the same elements that make things difficult in spring also make our living conditions a lot more pleasant than most areas.

The inconsistent warm temperatures normally stick around long enough in February to give us a look at green vegetation, flowers and birds months before others get the opportunity to enjoy them.

While most people spend March and April waiting for the snow to melt, we are ahead of the game. Even though our spurts of warm weather are sporadic and unpredictable, it is better than going without them for six months at a time. When the warm conditions roll in, it reminds us that a steady stream of sunshine is on the way.

On that same note, baseball teams around the country usually begin their seasons the first weekend of February. Nine times out of 10, when baseball season begins in the Black Belt, it feels like baseball season.

Sure, there are a few cold games here and there. But, for the most part, we enjoy comfortable conditions to toss out a lawn chair, grab a coke and take in a game. There is a reason the early schedules for the University of West Alabama and The University of Alabama are full of teams such as Northern Idaho, Nebraska and Ohio State in the early goings. It’s hard to play on a field covered in snow. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about that here.

Yes, there are some things about spring and event planning that frustrate people to no end. But, when you weight the positives, it is worth it.

-Rick Couch is news editor of The Demopolis Times. He can be reached by calling (334) 289-4017 or e-mailing