The Herald Bulletin

February 5, 2014

Silver linings to a snowfall

Residents say seasons make the state special

By Traci Moyer
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — Carma Meyer is excited about the recent snowfall blanketing the area.

“I have always wanted to live in Alaska and this is the closest I can come to it,” she said with a laugh. “And I like to shovel.”

Meyer, 64, of Pendleton said not everyone appreciates her love of winter weather.

“The people I work with don’t like my enthusiasm — but I love it,” she said. “It’s nice and white and bright and sparkly, which is a nice change for the gray, drab weather we normally have this time of the year.”

A self-proclaimed avid gardener, Meyer said she is looking forward to the spring when she can start planting her vegetable garden, but until then she has a long list of reasons why people can enjoy every minute of the snow.

“You can sit in front of a fireplace and read a book,” she said. “And another good thing about all this snow is you don’t have to go to work.”

Kathleen Sprouse, agriculture and natural resources extension educator for Purdue Extension in Madison County, also said there were benefits to the snowfall.

“For the areas that are dry, the snow will help to replenish those areas and help with the soil moisture levels,” she said.

Meyer, however, said she does have limits when it comes to her love of frozen flurries.

“I’m fine with snow until the middle of March and then I’m ready for spring,” she said.

But there might be a few more snowstorms for Meyer to enjoy before March. The National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting more snow for both the weekend and early into next week.

“Beyond that there is no accuracy,” said Megan Bird, a meteorologist with the Indianapolis NWS office.

Sorry, Punxsutawney Phil — Bird is calling your bluff.

On Sunday, the famous groundhog saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter.

Bird said that might be true, but Phil’s predictions coincide with the calendar.

“The actual first day of spring is March 20,” she said. “We should be getting warmer by then.”

Predicting weather on a daily basis is hard enough with technology, let alone predicting it weeks in advance.

Bird said the original forecast for Madison County was 7 to 10 inches and only 5 inches were recorded in the area from the storm.

“The system did shift further north than expected,” she said. “The freezing rain was only expected in the south, so since it shifted a little bit north, it did lower those totals.”

June Sowash said she is also not worried about Punxsutawney Phil’s dire predictions of six more weeks of winter.

“He’s just sort of a myth,” said Sowash, 68, of Frankton. “I like all the seasons, but I am getting sick and tired of this weather.”

Sowash and her husband, who is 72, have been struggling to maintain their driveway and an elderly neighbor’s driveway this winter.

It is a job that is proving to be more difficult with each snowfall.

“I like winter, but this winter has been more than I would like and I think that happens as you get older,” she said.

The couple has been staying inside with only an occasional jaunt to fill bird feeders or knock snow out of the satellite dish and trips into town for doctor visits.

Although the heavy snowfall presents a unique set of challenges for Sowash, she said she would not want to live somewhere that never gets snow. She is also happy this last snowstorm only brought snow to the area.

“We are thankful we didn’t get the ice,” she said.

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

Fact or fluke? On Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog, saw his shadow, which according to legend, predicts six more weeks of winter. According to the famous tradition, if the groundhog does not see his shadow on Groundhog Day, we are supposed to get an early spring. So how accurate is a furry forecaster? According to www.groundhog.org, groundhogs have seen a shadow 100 out of 116 times on Groundhog Day, but that does not mean every prediction came true. In fact, Phil's last two years of predictions have been wrong. In 2013, Phil did not see his shadow, indicating there would be an early spring, but much of the nation experienced winter weather conditions long into March. Source: www.groundhog.org, www.noaa.gov