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Let It Snow, Or Not?






Snow removal work is down this year due to a 10-to-20 degree increase in temperatures across the Midwest and the East Coast this winter.


It’s been warm enough to plant and dig across much of the Midwest and East Coast this winter. The weather (as of Jan. 9, at least) is good for landscapers, but bad for companies that rely on snow removal work for income.

New York City made it through November and December without snow for the first time since 1877. New Jersey had its warmest December in 111 years, since records started being kept, and the flowers are still in bloom in backyards in New Jersey, but why?

There is a lack of ice in Minnesota, landscapers are still busily planting in Indiana and golfers are busy in the middle of January, all because temperatures are up around the country. Many areas in the Midwest and the East Coast were in the midst of a heat wave around New Year’s, at least a 10-to-20 degree rise in temperatures for the winter.

Not that people are complaining, in fact this may mean an increase in income for many landscapers and other outdoor businesses that normally would be shut down during the winter months.

Meteorologists say the warmth is due to a combination of factors. First El Nino, the cyclical warming trend now under way in the Pacific Ocean. Second the jet stream, or high-altitude air current that works like a barricade to hold back warm Southern air is running much farther north than usual over the East Coast. Still, the weather is unpredictable, and this does not necessarily point towards global warming. Remember, the Plains have been recently struck by back-to-back blizzards.

Leonard Berg, the Marovitz Golf Course superintendent in Chicago looks proudly toward the fairways.

“Normally this time of year there would be a brown singe to it. Look at that nice emerald green,” he says.

However, not everyone is benefiting from the warmth. Some cold weather enthusiasts may miss out on their winter sports. Ice fishing tournaments in Minnesota have been cancelled and it’s still undecided whether or not the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships will be held in Minneapolis. The St. Paul Winter Carnival’s ice maze has even been reduced to a maze made out of plastic blocks.

Keith Baughman, a landscape architect with Lawn Pride in Indianapolis, said that since no significant snow has fallen in central Indiana so far this winter, his company has been short of trucks without the heavy blades for the landscape work his crews find before them.

No snow also means that there is no money in snow removal, and in Ohio, sales for Dan Motz’s firewood business are reportedly down about 25 percent as well. Not to mention the many ski resorts that have not had cold enough weather to make snow: they’re forced to just cross their fingers and wait.

Source: Associated Press


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June 18, 2019, 6:34 pm PDT

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