The winter of 2011-2012 has been unseasonably warm across Texoma, and while many enjoy the break from the cold, it does have some negative effects too. Here’s the down side of what we can expect if the “year without a winter” continues:
1) Insects: It could be a really bad year for bugs. Heavy rainfall this winter and January temperatures more than 5 degrees above normal means insects are already active when they should be dormant. Based on previous years with this pattern, look for a tough bug season ahead.
2) Pollen/Allergies: Trees are already budding, and allergist Dr. Vernon Laing reports high Elm pollen counts in early February. This is typical when persistent warm weather takes place in January. A freeze later in the spring cycle can cause bud or limb damage and we’ve seen this before.
Grass and weeds are already growing in many yards and fields. This further adds to the pollen load in the air. Allergy sufferers may have a tough time in the months ahead.
3) Severe Weather: A warm pattern favors stronger storms (assuming moisture is present) and we're already seeing that with unseasonably spring-like thunderstorm events the past few weeks.
4) Lakes: Algae, Zebra mussels and other undesirables thrive in warmer water. An early rise in lake temperatures does not help in this regard.
5) Fire danger: Vegetation is typically very dry at the end of the winter and this year is no exception. Warm and windy weather promotes the spread of wildfires more so than in cooler years. Of course the wet soil does help offset this to some degree.
6) Commerce: Propane gas dealers count on winter demand to help make a yearly profit, and dealers tell me that the mild temperatures are hurting their livelihood.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom:
>>>Warmer winter weather allows people to get outside and get more exercise.
>>>Research shows that sunny and mild weather generally puts people in a better mood as well.
>>>Warmer weather means less frost or ice. Water gets into roadway cracks where it freezes and expands, making the cracks bigger. Severe cold also causes roads to contract and buckle. Snow-packed roads take a beating as vehicles drive over them.
>>>A mild winter also eases the burden of high winter heating bills.
That way, you can use the utility savings to purchase more bug spray.