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With no January thaw, the snowy fruits of winter have given almost no relief


Enough is enough.

Sure, I’ve been heard to mock people who can’t handle snow. I’ve never written the word “sissies” but the implication has been there, lurking in the background. What is snow, anyway, other than rain that takes longer to make you feel wet?

Well, in this unpleasant winter of 2014, it is solid, cold, white stuff that has taken up every spare inch of my outdoor property. It is up to the top of the 42-inch-high picket fence I put in last summer to keep my dog penned in. It is now, after innumerable “shoveling events” on my back deck, even with or in some cases above the deck boards. My deck, in places, is six feet off the ground. To clear it now, I can either throw it by the shovel-full as far as I can cast it, or give in and haul my snowblower up on the deck and blow it over the rail.

And that’s just my deck. Everyone in my neighborhood is eyeing their neighbors’ yards, wondering where the snow is going to go when it gets too high for the snowblower to blow it over any more. We’ve all pretty much filled up our own front yards and the banks between the sidewalk and the road are higher than your average head. I’ve got a Dry Hill-sized mound on my neighbor’s side yard and he’s got a similar ski hill on the other side of his house.

It’s not that the snow this year has been spectacularly above average. Sure, we’ve had plenty; even Watertown had almost 80 inches in January, and the southern towns have accumulated more still. But as a woman from Osceola said in a Times story last week, 200 inches isn’t epic, 300 inches is epic. So for epic snowfall, well, we’re short of that.

What this winter hasn’t given us much of, though, is a break. Your average winter will bring that famous “January thaw,” that four-or-five-day spell of temperatures in the 40s that settles the snow, gets it back down to a manageable height. There hasn’t been anything like that in four or five weeks. Right after the ice storm there were a couple days of mid-30s that melted the ice off the trees, but since then, it has been relentlessly cold. And there have been, until the last week, almost no days with appreciable amounts of sunshine.

The unremitting gray and the punishing cold and the endless whiteness of this winter are starting to get to people. After two days of sun, Thursday reverted to the miserable snow clouds and between when I put my truck in the garage Thursday night and when I got up Friday morning, yet another snowfall left 5 inches on the ground to clean up. So at 6 a.m., I went to the snowblower, fired it up and spent 45 minutes blowing snow onto snowbanks that were all groaning “No mas!”

The Weather Channel app on my iPhone says it will snow on Saturday, be partly sunny but bitter cold today and Monday, snow on Tuesday, then warm up on Wednesday and rain from Thursday through Sunday.

Rain? Oh thank you thank you thank you...

Perry White is city editor of the Times and a boy of the Southwest at heart. Reach him at

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