Weather Updates

Let the great ‘unwinter’ continue into January

Updated: January 21, 2012 8:09AM

Shhh. Be very, very quiet, as Elmer J. Fudd might say — though we are not hunting rabbits. We are trying not to jinx our unwinter.

If Mother Nature hears any of us marveling at how it is the third week of December — Christmas Week! — and most, if not all, of us haven’t even taken our snow shovels out of storage, she might unleash her fury.

In fact, as this writing takes place, a major winter storm is burying the Southwest and Great Plains, and our own forecast has that storm possibly swiping us with something Tuesday and Wednesday, maybe even with something in the ballpark of snow.

But the way things have been going this December, the safer bet is we’ll get some rain. A cold rain, but not the kind that needs to be plowed at taxpayer expense.

Indeed, this unwinter has been a blessing to budget-crunching municipalities after four straight winters of heavy plowing and salting. A local public works director admitted to me earlier this month that he constantly checks the Weather Channel’s 10-day forecast to see how long our luck will hold out. So far, so good.

Compare our puny dustings of snow and 45-degree days in 2011 to what we experienced around here during the last four early- to mid-Decembers:

Last year, we had a 5-inch snowstorm on the first weekend of December, and the Midwest was hit by a blizzard the weekend of Dec. 11-12 that infamously featured the Chicago Bears being bullied at snow-covered Soldier Field by the New England Patriots.

On Dec. 8, 2009, we were hit by a wet, wind-driven snowstorm that left 8 inches on the ground in some places and was followed two days later with an 8-degree afternoon, complete with 30 mph wind gusts.

In December 2008, we started with a 4-inch storm to start the month and then got hammered with a foot of snow on Dec. 19.

December 2007 opened with an ice storm and moved on to an 8-inch snowstorm on Dec. 5 that produced 150 accidents on Lake County roadways.

This year, when I hear my children cry out for a white Christmas, I want to clamp a hand over their mouths. I also want to direct their attention to the current 10-day forecast, which offers hope that the great unwinter of December 2011 might continue into 2012 — if we keep quiet about it.

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