Tuesday was Groundhog Day and since Punxsatawney Phil did not see his shadow, legend says there will be an early spring this year. If that proves to be the case, it will be yet another ingredient in what so far has been a memorable winter.
But unlike last year’s dastardly performance, this season has been notable for very little snow and a paucity of very cold temperatures. Weather reporters are saying that less than a foot of snow has fallen to date, and they predict that the days just ahead are likely to have above average temps, at least through the middle of the month.
That’s just the sort of news guaranteed to delight those of us who suffered through last year’s record 110.6 inches of snowfall. Even better is the thought that we might have the last laugh over those family and friends – the “snowbirds” – who mortgaged their pensions to decamp to Florida this year.
Our town is luxuriating in not-so-cold – even balmy – days, so much so that our mayor, thoughtful fellow that he is, even loaned some of Boston’s brand new snow-moving and snow-melting equipment to mayors down the coast from us after a storm late last month dumped record snowfalls on DC, Baltimore, Philly, and New York. By contrast, the storm left but six inches in and around Boston, all of which melted away during the mild days that followed. It was a one-day snow removal job, and who can complain about that?
Unexpectedly, we have been living with clear streets and salt-covered cars. Last Saturday, so many chose to visit the Neponset Car Wash that massive traffic delays ensued, choking Gallivan Blvd. and expressway traffic. It took three State Police cruisers to move in and temporarily block access to the facility to relieve the congestion.
Last Sunday, the last day of January, was bright and sunny as I drove in light traffic up the highway from Braintree. The car’s dashboard display showed the number 60 in two places – 60+ on the speedometer, and 60 degrees on the thermometer. That night, we uncovered the barbecue outside and grilled a couple of steaks that had been stored in the freezer since last fall – all that in the middle of a Boston winter to remember!
I know I’ll probably jinx things by saying this, but I have long believed that Groundhog Day affords a toggle-like mid-winter benchmark: Once past the second day of February, the nights grow shorter, the daylight gets longer (sunsets after 5 o’clock this week,) and Red Sox Truck Day looms less than two weeks away.
I was very optimistic until I noticed that in the month of February 2015, a series of storms deposited almost 5½ feet – 64.8 inches – of snow, a record amount for the month.
Plus this is a leap year, so the month has one extra day to do its wintry thing.