Another Mention In Print

Wow – two print mentions in the past week. This time Joe Amarante of the New Haven Register called to ask about our lack of winter.

I’m not sure “alarmist crap” is be a phrase I’d use again for attribution. It was inelegant and crude. Unfortunately, it’s an accurate quote. Sometimes stuff just comes out.

I think writers, like Joe and Charlie Walsh at the Connecticut Post (who quoted me last week), have a distinct advantage over TV people. We need to haul our sorry butts to the scene of the crime. Newspaper people can just pick up the phone and interview a half dozen people in the time it takes us to drive to some far off little town.

Rough sledding for those who want snow

Joe Amarante, Register Coulmnist


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As you may have noticed, the past year’s weather has been defying easy logic in these United States.

According to, Americans experienced the warmest April in four years, the wettest and fourth-coldest Labor Day in 14 years and (in Connecticut and four other states) the warmest December on record.

In our little state, where the Fung Wah bus motors daily between New York and Boston with nary a reason to wash off sand or road salt, it’s been oddly temperate.

One overnight last week was cold but otherwise? Mild. Almost balmy.

The effects of nine or 10 such weeks are adding up. I asked WTNH-8 weathercaster Geoff Fox if he was feeling a little, I don’t know, unloved amid his station’s “Storm Team 8” crew.

“No, no. Ann Nyberg and I have done unscientific surveys in the past about this,” he said. “What I have noticed are so many e-mails saying that people are so pleased they don’t have to deal with winter.”

Fox said his wife kiddingly blames the lack of snow on the fact that WTNH has begun offering alerts about winter weather sent directly to cellphones.

Under that logic (which I employ), the lack of snow is due to my November purchase of a snowblower. Since I bought that shiny beast, it’s been like living in Texas (if you can call that living).

According to the Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald, it’s been so warm there that bears aren’t hibernating, squirrels are mating early and geese are staying put.

At least New Hampshire has had a little snow; we’ve barely seen a flake. Most days, it’s been warm enough to go for a walk in just a fleece jacket, or throw the ball around in the yard.

Some of the positives:

?Town and state governments are saving thousands of dollars in snow-removal costs. I’m sure you’ll see your taxes go down soon. Go ahead, hold your breath.

?No holiday, birthday or retirement parties have been canceled due to bad weather. That saves caterers, restaurants and entertainers from lost wages.

?Road surfaces are better since there’s been less freezing and thawing (which causes potholes), noted WTNH’s sly Fox.

?Senior citizens, who have two or three doctor appointments a week, aren’t having to cancel. That’s more money for the medical profession! (Yeah! Cancel “Doc Aid.”)

?Heating costs are down so far this winter. The other day, my oil dealer called and asked if we needed a delivery. We chuckled and said, “Maybe in a couple of months.” Heating oil and diesel prices aren’t rising.

?No snow or ice means fewer accidents, which means lower costs for drivers, higher profits for insurers and fewer health-care costs, lost wages and filthy-rich lawyers.

?For those who heat with electricity (and God help you), the recent rate hike won’t be quite as lethal. Just yet.

?Home and road contractors are losing fewer days to bad weather. The construction industry should be operating at high efficiency (New Haven-area road work excepted, of course. Our motto is: You can’t get here from there.)

But there are downsides to such mild weather, too:

?Snowpack replenishes reservoirs. Ski areas, ice-fishing guys, pond hockey players and snow-plow drivers are all idle or slow. Overtime wages are nil.

?Heating-oil dealers, car washes, winter-apparel retailers and yes, TV weathercasters are less in demand. Even TV marketing folks, since the ads for SkyMax Doppler radar or “Early Warning Pinpoint Doppler” lose their bite when there are no storms to dopple.

There’s no need to hope for big storms, of course, even for the folks who make money from them.

“Does an oncologist root for cancer?” Fox asks rhetorically. “I’d like to think the guys in the body shops (or in car-rental agencies) aren’t sitting around hoping for snowstorms.”

Fox notes that this weekend’s warmup will be followed by what looks like “a huge drop in temperatures” this week, although previous indications of a cold snap have fizzled.

The media is ready to swing that way, of course. The AP story Thursday said “Old Man Winter has returned from his Florida vacation.” An forecast said, “The threat for a bigger East Coast … snowstorm increases dramatically for the mid- to late January time frame.” (Duh.)

And Joe Bastardi of says the next month could mimic the same period of 1965-66 or 1957-58, when winter turned cold and stormy after a warm start. “Those who think that winter 2006-2007 is going to remain mild are in for a shock,” said Bastardi. “Winter is likely to come with a vengeance.”

Uh-oh. Buy up the milk and bread and batten down the hatches.

But Fox dismisses some of that talk as “alarmist crap,” noting it was AccuWeather that predicted a strong hurricane season and cold winter so far.

With little snow on the ground in the Plains and Great Lakes states, there is less frozen ground cover to add to frostiness to the air sweeping our way. Says Fox, “It’s going to be much more difficult for us to get the extended cold we normally get this time of winter.”

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