Following this recent Arctic blast, it’s hard to believe that last Sunday saw our temperatures “soar” into the 40s and lawns and fields looked more like springtime green than winter brown. But that pretty much typifies our weather at this time of the year. If you don't like it, just wait and it will change ...and often very abruptly. We can go from a light sweater and sneakers one day, to an insulated parka and mukluks the next, and sometimes even on the same day.
Every year there are some who fret about whether or not we'll have a white Christmas. If we don't – and that only happens somewhere in the 37 percent range – then you'd think the entire holiday was ruined. However, by the month of March many of these same people are whining about the cold and snow, and wishing springtime conditions would magically and suddenly appear on the Spring Equinox. About the only groups that wish some of our fickled winters would last longer are the snowmobilers, skiers and avid ice fishermen, and maybe those who supplement their income by plowing driveways.
The cold hard fact is we live in a four-season region. Of course in some years it may seem like only two seasons, those being summer and winter, when we may get an exceptionally short spring and/or fall, or when we don't get much of a summer season, like occurred this year. But at least our weather patterns are seldom boring, and they often generate some interesting views and conversations. It's no accident that the Weather Channel's popularity is so substantial. After all, when normal conversation lulls, what do people usually discuss? The weather.
For those of us who enjoy recreating outdoors, changes in the weather are a part of life. Weather-wise, we get what we get, and we adapt accordingly. If it's cold, we layer up for warmth. If its wet, we don raingear. If we choose to wait for just the “perfect conditions,” we might have to spend an entire season indoors. Looking back over 2009, the weather certainly impacted more than usual how we approached outdoor activities.
Last winter in our area started with an autumnal growl, by a major snowstorm slamming us in mid October, but then it fizzled out throughout the rest of the season with no major blizzards or extended sub-zero periods. Considering our average seasonal snowfall is 69 inches (the average US city gets 25 inches per year), last winter wasn't much of a delight to snow worshippers. And despite some initial worries, there was plenty of ice for the Lions Club's Almost Annual Perch Derby at Chenango Lake and the Crappie Derby at Whitney Point Lake...