With all due respect to ice fishermen, snowmobilers and ski hill operators--I could live with this kind of winter every year in Wisconsin. No major snowstorms, no prolonged periods of below zero temperatures, not even a windchill warning.
It's amazing the benefits that come with a milder winters in these parts. Lower home heating bills mean less budgetary pressure on low-income families living in draftier houses. Decreased demand for natural gas and home heating oil keeps prices lower for all customers. The homeless are at less risk for hypothermia and warming shelters aren't overwhelmed on bitter cold nights. With no snow and ice, slip and fall incidents are nearly non-existant. It's been safer for kids to walk to school and for seniors to walk in store parking lots.
We haven't had any stories yet about people having heart attacks shoveling their driveways. We haven't had any major pileups on snow-covered Highway 41 and school districts haven't had to cancel or delay class days because of heavy snow.
Counties and cities haven't had to pay overtime to plow drivers for 18-hour shifts trying to clear the roads in blizzards. Salt supplies are well stocked. Crews have been able to spend more time doing maintenance work. The Highway 41 project is moving ahead of pace--as workers don't have to battle the elements and the construction season is extended.
People are being more active--choosing to walk in the mild temperatures instead of just sitting on the couch watching the snow fly outside the window. Golf courses are making some totally unexpected revenues by catering to January players. Without snow cover, deer and other animals are finding food more easily--meaning a bigger herd for hunters next year. Birds aren't stressed nearly as much by lack of food and warmth--with some migratory species not even bothering to leave this year.
Before all you climate change alarmists start telling me about the damage to polar bear habitat and the ice caps, keep in mind that the Arctic is seeing a fairly average winter so far. Just ask the people of Nome, Alaska if they are concerned about mild temperatures in Wisconsin right now--as they need to have the Naitonal Guard and Russian ice breaker ships called in to get them emergency supplies of fuel and food due to way-above-normal amounts of snow and cold they have had so far this season. We are catching a a more northerly jet stream this year thanks to La Nina in the Pacific Ocean. Our friends in Canada just a couple hundred miles north of us are still in the teens for highs this week.
However, if this kind of winter is going to be the "new normal" in Wisconsin--caused by global warming or not--then sign me up.