In upstate New York, harbingers of spring are few and far between, so we have to take what we can get.
That’s why we’re celebrating the arrival of Daylight-Saving Time this weekend. Clocks will move forward by one hour on Saturday night, meaning that by Sunday evening, we should be enjoying a little more late-afternoon sunshine.
Or, at least, some late afternoon gray daylight. But even that will be welcome after what has undeniably been a cold and unrelenting winter.
Of course, there have been a few other signs that winter may, in fact, one day end. Robins have been sighted, although they have looked a little out of place surrounded by mammoth piles of snow. And it’s reassuring to know that spring training season is underway, and the countdown to “real” baseball is getting shorter by the day.
It’s tempting to consider this a “bad” winter. But it would be more accurate to call it a “normal” winter, provided your definition of “normal” stretches back more than a decade or so into the past. In fact, you could even call it an “old-fashioned” winter.
Looking at the record high and low temperatures recorded in Binghamton (the nearest site for which data was available), you can see that many of the low-temperature records for February were set in the 1960s and ‘70s, and many of the high-temperature records are from the 1990s and 2000s. So for any millenials out there, if your parents have been telling you that winters used to be a lot worse when they were kids: they weren’t exaggerating (much).
February’s cold did dip into the low end of average and flirt with a couple of low-temperature records. But the harsh truth is, it was really nothing unusual compared with the historical data.