Around here, people typically fall into one of two camps when it comes to feelings about winter. They either love it or hate it. It's no secret that I fall on the side of Hate It. I grew up in the deep south, where below freezing temps rarely happened and when they did, the occurrence lasted a few hours, not days.
Every day for the past week, I've crossed my fingers as I pulled up the long-range forecast models, hoping the end of this stretch of below average temperatures would be in site. Every day, I've been disappointed. The 6-10 day forecast has the eastern half of the country continuing to be much colder than normal, and the 8-14 outlook isn't much better.
Wait! Didn't that new, local groundhog predict a quick shot of winter and then an early spring? Can someone pull the little guy back out of his hole and ask him what his definition of "quick" is? Several weeks is more like it. Please, my winter-hating friends, don't shoot the messenger.
It's not a stretch to say this is unusual, and yet, this is the third year in a row with below average temperatures in late winter. A check of 2013's global climate data showed much of the eastern half of the U.S. (with the exception of New England) was near average or cooler than average for the year. The data for 2014 includes more of the country and some areas experiencing even colder temperatures than the previous year.
For the winter lovers among us, this might be a welcomed trend. For the rest of us, it begs the question of what is causing this trend and when it will end. I have to leave it to the researchers to answer that one.
In the meantime, much of the rest of the planet continues to be warmer than average including the drought ridden American Southwest, which experienced record warmth last year. It's too bad we haven't figured out how to spread Mother Nature's wealth more evenly and give California some of New England's snow while taking a bit of its warmth for ourselves this week.