The process of melting a winter snowpack can be quite a lengthy process. If the snow accumulation is light, winter snow can melt in a matter of days. However, in years like the present, it can take many weeks to melt away all of the winter snow, and that's assuming new snow doesn't fall before the old snow can melt away. For many years, I have felt that this period of "late winter-early spring" deserves status as a fifth season in our climate.

Across the United States, locations that routinely have this fifth season include most of the western mountain ranges, of course, where the snowpack is measured in feet and sometimes tens of feet. Otherwise, it's really only a thing in the eastern Dakotas, northern and central Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, the Michigan Upper Peninsula, upstate New York and New England. And, of course, Alaska.

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