Not this year. This year has reverted back to the Hoth-like winters of '10 and '11. We're still in early February and we've already surpassed 40" of snowfall for the year. And you're kidding yourself if you think we're out of the woods yet. February is usually our big snowfall month.
With a decent sampling of snowstorms to observe, I find it interesting how our perception of the white stuff changes over the course of the winter:
December 8: The turkey leftovers are still in the fridge and the excitement of the Holiday season is building rapidly. The forecast calls for 1" to 3", just enough to add even more excitement to the season. The Eagles have a home game scheduled with playoff implications, and everybody is out and about doing Holiday shopping when the storm hits much harder than anticipated. More than 8" falls in just over four hours -- Everybody is caught off guard, but everybody is loving it. The Eagles win, and everybody enjoys the Holiday snow day. Fun day, no doubt.
Jan 3: The kids have been back in school just one day after Christmas break before they are awarded another snow day. This time it's 9" and a bonus round of snowmen and sledding. Everybody's a bit more prepared for this one, and nobody is really complaining about an extended vacation from work and school. The sledding hills are packed, and I'm sure Hot Cocoa sales are through the roof too.
January 21: Temperatures have been at ridiculously low extremes, so much that snow from nearly three weeks ago is pretty much still around when the next storm hits -- this time it's 14" of the lightest fluffiest powder you've ever seen. Not great for snowmen or snowballs, but still fun for the kids. At this point the adults are starting to have a slightly different view of the season, but there's not much we can do.
Jan 21 - January 31: Temperatures continue to struggle getting above freezing, so all that snow is sticking around, getting dirtier and icier. Young kids in dry clothes can't seem to stay off the dirty salty snowpiles, adding to the parents' frustration. A series of 1" and 2" storms seem to replenish any snow that was lost due to solar melt-off. What would have been a fun distraction in December is now a barely noticed inconvenience. Firewood piles are diminishing. The kids even seem to be getting tired of Hot Cocoa. Ice scrapers are getting a regular work-out. Everybody's car is coated in a white brushing of salt residue. I'm hearing a fair amount of complaining from adults, hoping for a warmer drier weather pattern. The newspaper count-down to spring training taunts us.
January 29: An email announcement is sent out by the schools that they have used all the built-in snowdays for the year. That means for any new day off, there will be an extra day tacked on at the end of the year. When this information is shared with the kids, their impression of snowdays also changes somewhat.
February 3: After a brief tease of 50-degree temperatures over the weekend, we are treated to 5" of heavy, wet snow, and another day off from school. Great snowman snow. Horrible to shovel. The kids want to do something more exciting than sit around and watch movies, and its apparent that they are getting a bit bored with just being out in the snow for being out in the snow sake. A few organized activities get the kids back on track, but at the expense of parental productivity. Love having the kids home, but I've got a boatload of schoolwork that I was counting on knocking out while they're at school. I think just about everybody is hoping for some degree of return to normalcy.
February 5: The good news is that we seem to have escaped the polar vortex. The bad news is that it means the next storm is a slushy, icy mix. Horrible. No fun to drive in, no fun to play in, no fun to live with. The forecast calls for 1" to 3" of snow before switching over to sleet and freezing rain. It ends up being no snow at all, -- just ice and freezing rain. PECO reports more than 600,000 customers without electricity in the 6-county region of PA suburbs. Or more than a third of the customers in the region. The roads are awful -- a slick sheet of ice covers everything, tree limbs down, major slip-and-fall hazards. Nobody enjoys this one in the least. It's almost enough to wish that vortex would come back.
So what's to come? Well that's anybody's guess. The forecast for this coming weekend certainly looks ominous. At this point there's only one thing for certain -- just about everybody is looking forward to spring.
And on that note I'll leave everybody with one parting note: 5 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. The end can't be too far away, can it?