Feeling blue is warranted

Feeling blue is warranted

Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 8:01 pm
By: By Alex Sosnowski Special to The Press

By Alex Sosnowski

Special to The Press

State College, Pa. – AccuWeather reports winter with an attitude has focused on parts of the Northeast, South and Midwest. If it has got you feeling down or angry, the weather is mostly to blame.

Record or near-record snowfall in parts of the Northeast and above-average snowfall in parts of the Midwest, combined with below-average temperatures, are hitting budgets hard, and patience is growing thin.

For some this may seem like typical winter stuff and is to be expected. However, weariness and perhaps anger from the combination of persistent cold and round after round of snowstorms are more than justified.

The Midwest hasn’t had the big snowstorms like millions along the East Coast and parts of the South have shared. But folks in the Midwest have had frequent nickel and dime snowfalls and temperature departures of 2 to 10 degrees below normal since the start of December.

Some people downwind of the Great Lakes have had a lot of snowfall this winter too, due in part to lower-than-average temperatures squeezing out that lake moisture. South Bend, Ind. has had over 77 inches of snow so far this season. Normal snowfall for the entire season is 76 inches. For the South, it’s been the nagging chill and a couple of nasty winter storms, especially one that hit during the second week of January, leaving the region a skating rink for days.

In the Northeast, especially along the northern I-95 zone, it is the mountains of snow, lost parking places, nightmare commutes, auto accidents, slip and fall injuries, roof and water damage, high heating bills, daycare, lack of shopping trips, and climbing grocery store bills.

According to a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, shoveling snow amounts to 11,500 visits to the emergency room per year. The injuries range from heart attacks to slipped discs and back strain. Over 1,600 injuries, on average, result in death from shoveling snow.

Chances are, even if you tried to get away from the cold and snow, you had problems at the airport with flight cancelations, delays or reroutes. Then, when you got there, it rained or was darn cold.

This type of weather is good for skiing interests, as it has not been wickedly cold for more than a few days. Also, if you are getting paid by the hour or overtime for plowing, you are tired, but you are at least paying your bills.

Online shopping is likely doing well, while mall and shopping center traffic are probably being negatively impacted by cold and frequent snow, unless you own an outerwear/winter gear store, or a car wash.

The frequent applications of salt and plowing operations will likely have many cities, townships, counties and states struggling with budget issues and contemplating raising taxes come spring to compensate for the lack of funds. In the meantime, try to beat the winter blues by getting out to the movies, throw a party, sleigh ride with the kids, or treat yourself to a great meal.

According to a recent article in the Longview News-Journal, studies have shown that regular exercise is a great way to escape the dark days. If you do have to commute to work or school like millions do, remember patience and courtesy during these not-so-perfect days.

Like it or not, February is “looming in the headlights” with more winter to go. It’s “enough to make your eyeballs ache.”

Editor’s note: Alex Sosnowski is an Expert Senior Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com.

wcp 2/01/11

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