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Hello, I’m Winter!

U.S. annual temperature anomalies pre-1900 to 2013 (compared to average for period 1900-1999).
U.S. annual temperature anomalies pre-1900 to 2013 (compared to average for period 1900-1999).

Happy belated Groundhog Day (Feb. 2, 2014)! What does that furry marmot from Punxsutawney know anyway? What do all those other Johnny-come lately groundhogs and other critters know? Not much, even with their hyped weather forecasting accuracies.

Happy belated National Weatherman’s Day (Feb. 5, 2014), too! What do meteorologists know anyway? More than you think!

Regardless, I’m Winter and I’m here to stay for at least the next five to six weeks before I take a winter vacation “down under.” Sorry, I’ve been away for a few decades (Fig. 1). Anyway, I may or may not come back next year. However, right now, I’m thinking of an encore visit. After all, did I have fun messing up air travel, paralyzing Atlanta (once and likely twice) and freezing those hardy Minnesotans. I have decimated the snow removal and salt budgets of many cities and towns, too. I’ve broken or nearly broken so many weather records for snow, cold and other weather variables (e.g., Illinois and Minnesota) that I can’t even begin to count them (that’s almost a record unto itself). Why, I’ve now got people across the Nation saying that they don’t want me to come back for a long time. Say, aren’t all these same folks who complained about summer heat during the past ten to twenty years?

My list of disruptions, delays and economic weather-related losses could go on for pages. I’m sure meteorologists and economists nationwide will really enjoy tallying the numbers. Meanwhile, investment advisors and others are now blaming the weather for the slowing U.S. economy.

But, I did do some good, too. I had another year of bringing arctic sea ice back to higher coverage levels; in addition, the Great Lakes now have more ice coverage than they have had since 1994. I gave the northeast ski resorts some much needed white powder. And, boy, did kids across much of the U.S. get a cornucopia of days off from school. Hee, hee.

After a temperamental start, I succumbed to Californians wishes and brought them some significant rain and snow (along with flooding and mudslides for good measure). Still, it was fun drying up those lakes and draining reservoirs. The pictures of boats in hydrological dry dock were pretty impressive.

I killed lots of bugs in the southeast U.S.; gave the peaches and strawberries a needed, mostly brief, chill; and ensured that car washes and snow removal companies enjoyed a thriving business.

Yep, I am Winter.

So, when someone bemoans the cold, snow, ice, wind and other expected winter weather events, tell them to stop complaining. After all, this is what winter is supposed to be like!

So, go and enjoy a hot cocoa, a hot tea or a cup of soup and relax. I’ll be gone in five to six weeks…maybe.

© 2014 H. Michael Mogil

To get an answer to a question about any aspect of weather, or to suggest an article topic, please drop me a note.

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