Currently — May 3, 2023: Veggie gardens and river revitalization

The weather, currently.

It's getting to be that time when even those of us in colder climates can safely think about planting the vegetable garden. Currently's Sven Sundgaard says that although the average last frost date in Minneapolis is around May 14 (after which there's only about a 10% of freezing, tomato-killing temperatures), an upcoming stretch of warm weather means that eager gardeners might be able to push their luck this year.

Of course, you'll be doing so at your own risk.

On Tuesday, the town of Herman in Michigan's Upper Peninsula recorded 27 inches of snow. According to meteorologist Brian Brettschneider, this is the greatest-ever snowfall east of the Mississippi River during the month of May. Here's hoping it melts soon.

—Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

After two decades, almost half of the Kissimmee River in Central Florida has been restored.

Between 1962 and 1971, the river was straightened, creating a 30-foot deep, 300-foot wide, 56-mile-long drainage canal in response to hurricanes and floods. Around 44 percent of the floodplain was converted to pasture, draining about 31,000 acres of wetlands.

Before this channelization project, the Kissimmee River held all sorts of wildlife, including at least 39 species of fish and 38 species of water birds. After the straightening, waterfowl populations decreased by 90 percent. Bald eagle populations decreased by 70 percent. The project destroyed several ecosystems, including the Everglades. Water quality plummeted.

Now, 20 years and $1 billion later, the river is recovering. It was unstraightened, fixing its hydrology, and 40 square miles of wetlands have been restored. As a result, wildlife is rebounding and the river is flowing more naturally, improving oxygen and nutrient levels. It is returning to the haven it once was.

This restoration project was put into action by radical hope and communal activism, as residents near the river spoke out when they noticed the birds and fish disappearing. Though this is a small joy amid the larger climate crisis, it proves that ecological restoration is possible and more importantly, ecological destruction is preventable if we actively listen to community members and take swift action.

—Aarohi Sheth

What you can do, currently.

Currently is transitioning to become an entirely member-funded organization.

We're doing this to boost our organization's prospects for growth and sustainability, and to align more with our founding ethos of becoming an independent weather service for the climate emergency.

Paid members will have a truly premium weather experience. Here's some of what we have planned:

  • Text directly with Eric, our founder, who will personally answer your weather questions and give you a customized forecast on demand.
  • Our first weather app, which will put your daily weather in the context of climate change, no matter where you are, anywhere in the world.
  • Reader-ownership — an experiment in direct democracy so that Currently can remain accountable to our most important stakeholders, you, the readers.

We have SO MANY more exciting features planned, but we can't do this without your direct support. Your paid membership makes Currently possible.