How strange that Wilton not only didn’t have a White Christmas, but it had such a warm Christmas! With temps recorded at almost 70-degrees during the holiday week, it was not just unusual but downright bizarre.
In fact, not only were more than 6,000 warm weather records set across the U.S. in December 2015, the month also brought other highs, lows and strange events for people and businesses both locally and afar, especially those that typically capitalize on colder temperatures and snow.
Take Wilton’s Outdoor Sports Center, for example. Spring-like temperatures in December meant that shoppers weren’t as eager to purchase cold weather gear, so the store’s shelves are still well-stocked. According to their sales department, they’ve got brand new coats, boots and skis that they’re eager to move—so eager that they’re running an earlier-than-usual ‘secret’ sale starting today, Monday Jan. 4. The “No Snow Sale” has Outdoor Sports staff marking prices down 20-50 percent off on all in-stock 2015-16 winter items (including coats, gloves, sweaters and mid-layers). Given that temps are turning more frigid this week, that’s a good local deal.
Of course, the lack of snow was miserable for east coast ski areas. According to Ski Bum USA, “With a few rare exceptions the holiday week has been a disaster in the east.” Wilton residents who had planned on ski trips away had to make the best of it.
Two days after Christmas Heather Wilcauskas and her family left for a week away in Vermont. She had booked the week-long stay at the Okemo ski resort last summer, knowing in December there was a risk that Mother Nature might not cooperate. But was the only time they could get away to ski with a son who plays hockey the rest of the winter.
“As we got closer, we waffled between being depressed because we knew there’d be no snow and saying, ‘Oh, it’s going to be great!’ We arrived after dark, so pulling open the drapes the next morning to see…green grass. It was a definite ski in/ski out condo.”
Even though a little bit of natural snow did fall later in the week, Okemo still couldn’t open many trails. But that didn’t stop Wilcauskas and her family from having fun. “We had never snow-shoed before but we decided we would try, and we had so much fun,” she says, noting that they were able to snowshoe on the trails that were otherwise closed to skiers. “You make the best of it and everyone we met was having a grand old time,” she laughs, adding, “even though Mother Nature was trying to throw us a curve ball.”
It’s likely you’re seeing another strange consequence of the wacky weather in the garden. Just look at the main image of this article. It’s a picture of blooming forsythia, taken by Farah Masani of Farah’s Farm this past weekend, in January. Dasani also shared an image of the peppers her confused plants are growing.
Another Wilton resident, Sibylle Kinley, posted this picture of the salad she enjoyed on Dec. 27, with fresh lettuce from her neighbor’s garden.
The impact may be long lasting when it comes to your plants, says Emily Humiston, who owns Wilton’s Tall Trees Landscaping.
“The warm temps are having an effect on the bulbs right now. Daffodils are sprouting up all over. In theory, as long as they don’t send up a bud there should be no effect on them this spring. If there is a bud, they probably won’t flower this spring, but they should bloom the following year,” she says.
As for the other impact on her business, Humiston was pleased the temperatures stayed warmer longer into December. It allowed her to do fall cleanups in more comfortable conditions. “We would much rather have warm temps so that we can finish the 2015 season before snow comes. The mild December allowed us to thoroughly clean all of our properties and we had the benefit of doing so after all the leaves had fallen from the trees.”
While Humiston doesn’t add snowplowing in the winter like many other landscapers and masons do, she says the lack of snow likely hasn’t hurt those who do snow removal. “In the past by this time of year, we have only had one or two plowable storms. The majority of plowing is done in January and February.”
The coming week promises to seem more January-like, at least as far as temperatures go. We’re scheduled to start off feeling much colder, with a high of only 28-degrees Tuesday. Wilton may see low-40s by the end of the week, but there’s still no snow in the forecast.
On the plus side, there’s not a snow day or school cancellation in sight.