Most people across the middle of the country and stretching to the East Coast would not think they’d be spending the first week of January without a winter coat. But last week’s weather broke thousands of daily record highs for this normally wintry month — an incredible 1,140 daily record highs were broken during the first seven days of the year. The unseasonably warm weather is not only a disturbing example of global warming, but has also been financially damaging to businesses around the country that thrive during winter months.

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©Ed Yourdon

The concentration of recording breaking highs sprawled across the Midwest, but the effects were felt as far east as Maine. Communities that thrive on the skiing season, like New Hampshire and Vermont, are finding themselves otherwise devoid of tourists. Tens of millions of dollars that would be spent on winter tourism such as restaurants, hotels, recreation and sporting goods sales are now diverted, as skiers and snowboarders are staying home due to the lack of snow. In the Midwest, it is too warm for ponds to freeze over, preventing outdoor hockey and skating, while also making the ice too dangerous for ice fishing.

Many of the record breaking temperatures exceeded their previous records by as much as a whopping 15 degrees! Aside from breaking temperature records, this winter has broken snow records. 2011 was the first time in 128 years that Reno, Nevada saw no snow at all in December, not to mention most of the country is normally covered with a blanket of snow by now.

Although many of us enjoyed a weekend of riding bikes or having brunch outside, the adverse affects of the mild weather on our economy are just as troublesome as what this weather means to the state of global warming and our planet.


Second Image © Ed Yourdon