Thursday, December 26, 2013

Snowy December and a very White Christmas

Winter kicked in early and rather passionately this year, with snow accumulating earlier than Thanksgiving.  December's snowfall is climbing up the records ladder to 8th snowiest in recorded history with almost an entire week left in the month to add to the accumulated 30.8 inches. Compared with the average snowfall as of this date, 17.9 inches, we're in the thick of it. Remember, this time last year there was no snow.

We haven't been pounded by it or snowed in with blizzards, rather it's snowed nearly every day this month, making for a number of treacherous commutes and car accidents as most of the side roads are snow (or ice) covered. It's also been colder than usual, which has made living even less comfortable, as 533,000 homes and businesses lost power after last week's historic - and deadly - ice storm. Many West Michigan families had to make alternate plans for Christmas, temporarily bunking with family and friends, and hurriedly draining their pipes before celebrating the holiday.

Despite the nearly constant snowfall, Grand Rapids snow plows have done a good job of clearing roads and driveways in a timely fashion, and, for the most part, neighbors have done well at keeping their sidewalks shoveled.  Remember, the City requires that your sidewalk be shoveled; if the snow builds up, they will send out city workers to clear your sidewalk and assess you a hefty fee for doing it. It's much cheaper to just go out there and push a shovel around, particularly when snows are light as they've been.

It looks like January may also be cold and snowy, although that, of course, remains to be seen.  I'd bet on getting a lot more use out of your skis, skates, and sleds this year. Winter sports are a great thing to do with squirrel-y house-bound, sugared up kids.  If you're not sure where to go sledding, here's another list of fun sledding hills in Grand Rapids.  Check out one or two of them before the holidays are over and then come inside for some hot chocolate.

Happy Holidays, everyone!  Here's to a health, wealth, sustenance, and love in 2014!