I currently live about 25 miles northeast of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. On February 20-21, 2015, a fairly significant snow and ice event struck the area. On February 29-March 1, 2016, a smaller event occurred also bringing a thin coating of ice. From February 20-24, 2017, it is sunny and approximately 60°F (16°C) or higher. I mention this just to illustrate how unusual the weather has been at this time of year, during 2017.
My workplace overlooks a pond. In past summers, I have gone so far as to break out binoculars and a guide book, and identified that we have at least one map turtle, five painted turtles, and maybe a red-eared slider.
Today (Feb 24, 2017) I went outside for a break and saw the map turtle and two of the painteds on one of the logs on the edge of the pond.
Considering that the long-term forecast does not preclude a return to more normal conditions (there is a blizzard not 200 miles away right now), is there any chance that this early emergence from their hibernacula could ultimately be harmful to these guys? Or could they just as easily return to the pond bottom and resume a state of brumation for another month or two?
UPDATE 6 MARCH 2017 - Early last week there was some heavy rain that swelled the pond and turned it murky. Still, I may have seen one partially-submerged-turtle-shaped object drifting around. Then a few days later, it froze overnight and snowed until noon the next day. Now it has returned to the unseasonable warmth. A bit of a roller coaster from both human and reptile point of view. Anyway, today I saw two painteds on a log. Keeping an optimistic spirit here, until next update.
UPDATE 21 MARCH 2107 - We remain on the temperature roller coaster, though it seems to be starting to stabilize. Anyway, ever since the snow events a couple weeks ago, I have seen no more than two painteds at any one time, and so far no other species. Still too early to jump to conclusions, though. At the least, the fact that there are two definite survivors is good reason for optimism.
UPDATE 27 MARCH 2017 (FINAL) - Great news everyone! I just went out for a look during lunch, and saw a total of five turtles around the pond. One was the map, three were painteds, and one was either another painted or a slider. With the weather stabilizing toward definite spring conditions, it looks like our carapaced friends are in the clear. Yippee!