What’s left of the snow-and-ice pack is taking on that coconut water ice look. The birds are getting ever louder. And two days after nearly 6 inches of snow fell in parts of the region on Monday, the temperature Wednesday shot deep into the 50s throughout the Philadelphia region.

Once again it appears that the atmosphere is ripe for one of those seasonal identity crises. The word “snow” actually appears in the forecast for Saturday. In some areas, “an inch or two isn’t out of the question,” said Patrick O’Hara, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly.

But while the temperatures will be jumpy in the next few days, heading into March spring is very much in the extended outlooks.

They can’t always be trusted — the government’s February outlooks had it warm in Texas — but the astronomical outlook is indisputable.

The sun’s radiative power over Philly is nearly twice what it was in the beginning of the month, the days are about an hour longer than they were a month ago, and the sun will be beaming directly above the equator on March 20, the day of the spring equinox.

» READ MORE: Snow ends with 5.5 inches north and west of Philly, temps could reach 50 Wednesday

The progression won’t be linear; it usually isn’t.

Readings will be in the seasonable 40s Thursday and Friday, and some snow changing to rain is possible Saturday, followed by another warm-up, cool-down cycle.

Should the forecast hold, overall the melting process would be benign, even though some parts of the region have hosted 2 to 3 feet of snow since Jan. 31, and areas around the headwaters of the Delaware River and the Schuylkill are encased in dense snow and ice.

» READ MORE: Snow is snubbing Philly in January, and February is looking mild across the nation

“We will see some melting of snow with the warmer temperatures,” said Dave Ondrejik, senior hydrologist at the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center in State College. “We are certainly watching the storm for this weekend.”

However, he said, temperatures in upstate Pennsylvania and across the border in New York would go below freezing Wednesday night into early Thursday, halting the melt, and that it appeared that the bulk of the weekend precipitation would stay south.

Despite temperatures well into the 50s on Wednesday, melting wasn’t exactly dramatic in places north and west of the city. For one thing, a significant amount of sleet is embedded in the leftovers. “It’s more solid ice than snow,” said O’Hara, of the weather service.

Ice is slower to melt than snow. Also, although it was warm, the air Wednesday afternoon was quite dry, he said; moist air is a better promoter of melting.

The frozen cover generally is benign for plant life, said Emelie Swackhamer, master gardener for the Montgomery County Penn State Extension. It provides insulation from any cold, important for more southern species, and the slow melt provides a steady trickle of moisture.

It is not so good for landscape plants, she said, adding: “The big problem I see is the deer.” The snow has smothered usual banquet tables, so they’re going after the arborvitaes, yews, and rhododendrons. “They are just camping out and chowing down. All the animals are hungry. It’s a sad situation.”

Despite any snow on Saturday, the food situation for the wildlife is going to improve sooner or later; the yards are going to reappear.

Yes, it has been known to snow in March, and even April around here, just as it has been known not to stay very long.