The cold nights so far with temperatures in the upper teens to mid 20s have really slowed the snow melt. Rather than being what I expected to be at least 50 percent bare ground across the Columbia Basin by Monday, satellite showed we had only reached around 30 percent. Heaviest snow cover remains north and east of the Pasco and Ritzville. The gradual snow melt has delayed field work, but also results in soil moisture infiltration. None of the river gauges are showing signs of big jumps which would signal runoff. A warming trend is likely into Friday and farm ground that has lost snow cover will have above normal temperatures in the low and mid 60s. Although areas with snow cover will be 5 to 8 degrees cooler, the rate of snow melt should increase. Overnight, the temperatures will be warmer also, and may remain above freezing after mid week in many areas. The next chance for light rain will accompany a Pacific cold front Friday night and Saturday with amounts generally a tenth of an inch or less. Soil temperatures have risen into the lower 40s in areas where snow cover has vanished. Of course, where the snow remains, soils are still trending in the lower to mid 30s. Wheat and pasture development should accelerate this week in the snow free areas. Near to above normal temperatures are likely to continue into early April. Look for these warmer temperatures to quickly bring fruit trees and vines out of dormancy.