One of the things that makes me most sad about the weather over the past couple decades is the end of major snow storms. Back in the 70s when my age was in the single digits, and even into the 80s and 90s, most winters had storms that saw ten inches of slightly wet snow that packed well.
We could make snowmen (and sometimes women), angels, igloos, sledding paths and awesome snowballs that were packed enough to fly but soft enough not to hurt unless it landed in the face. And a ski mask beat that.
But starting in the 1990s we get extremes for snow. It’s the 2011 Halloween snow storm that was so wet it was useless for fun but great for damage; it’s the ice storms of 2007 that made walking to the garbage cans outside dangerous and driving impossible for days; or its a couple inches of fluff that is good for sledding the day it happens but erodes or melts so quickly as to make multi-day fun impossible.
This is the week before Christmas week, the time when winter unofficially starts. Outside it’s raining and 45 degrees at 6:25 in the morning. Pitch black, four days from the real start of winter, and it’s 45 degrees and raining before most kids are awake.
People are upset about global warming after “superstorms” hit, and it’s finally getting some attention in the media. But the evidence has been there for a while in our lousy winters. It’s not that it’s warmer all the time — it’s not. It’s that the pattern that has obtained for so long is disrupted, and no obvious pattern has taken it’s place. Nature is unsure, confused and as a result we cannot prepare ourselves properly to protect from hurricanes, or to benefit for the joys of big, fluffy, fun snow in the winter.
That’s kind of sad.