February 7, 2012
I just came in from a walk along the Albany County Rail Trail in Delmar, where it was mostly cloudy and in the 30s.
Did I happen to mention that the date was Feb. 7?
If it were a normal winter around these parts, I wouldn't have bothered to take the rail trail because it would be covered by several inches of snow and ice. But the trail was just as bare as the many lawns and athletic fields in this part of New York because this winter has been anything but normal.
So far, the region has yet to see a snowfall of greater than three inches, as far as I can remember. That includes the storm back in October that dumped about a foot of heavy, wet snow in the lower Hudson Valley and southern New England (we dodged a bullet there). To put it another way, there are places in the Great Plains that got more snow last week than we have all winter.
Of course, this has been great for the high school athletic directors because they haven't had to reschedule many games due to snow days. On the other hand, it's probably been miserable for the coaches of the two sports that rely the most on snow -- downhill and cross country skiing.
For me, I can do without the snow. It's annoying to drive through when I'm commuting to the office, and it's more annoying when I see someone speeding by me in a SUV as if to taunt Mother Nature by saying, "Look at me! I have all-wheel drive! Not even a blizzard can slow me down!"
Still, it's almost freaky to look around this region day after day and wonder where is that familiar winter blanket of snow. You expect it at this time of year, and yet it's nowhere in sight. Not even the extended weather forecasts hold out the hope of a significant snowfall through this weekend. We may very well get to Valentine's Day without a six-inch snowfall. Heck, we may get to March without a snowstorm.
That would be just fine for the high school athletic directors around here, though. No snow on the ground means they'll be able to allow their spring sports athletes to go outside to practice when the first Monday in March rolls around. Last year, most schools couldn't let their spring sports athletes out of the gym until mid-to-late March because the fields hadn't thawed from all the snow.
All in all, I'll gladly take the winter we're having this year. But it's still freaky that we haven't had a single snowstorm as of now.