From the winter that wasn’t to the long-term effects of a late frost, 2012 proved an interesting year for local weather.
January and February saw weather extremes — not of snowfall or cold, but unseasonably warm temperatures.instead. While some area residents welcomed the milder weather, the above-average temperatures weren’t good news for everyone.
Events such as the Hanford Mills Ice Harvest and Walton Winter Festival, and local ski venues, suffered from a lack of ice, and local snowmobile and ice-fishing enthusiasts bemoaned the ongoing thaw.
When winter weather did hit, it came late in the season with a blast of snow on Leap Day, Feb. 29. A second storm about a week later brought high winds that toppled the movie screen at the Unadilla Drive-In. The screen was rebuilt later in the year.
By mid-March, high temperatures were the norm once again, with record-setting heat bringing a feeling of spring to a landscape brown and dusty from lack of rain. April saw more record-breaking high temperatures that sent dormant plants into hyperdrive — only to be bitten in May by a surprising late-season frost.
Dryness turned to drought by summer, with some localities, including Oneonta, urging residents to conserve water. The combination of factors spelled doom for local apple growers, and threw off the growing season for a variety of other crops.
The year of odd weather appears poised to close on a more ordinary note, as winter storms dumped several inches of snow on the region in time to ensure not only a white Christmas, but a white New Year’s as well.
Center Street Elementary School closes
Word came early in 2012 that budget constraints within the Oneonta City School District might prompt the closure of its oldest facility: Center Street Elementary School. As state legislators wrestled to craft a budget, Oneonta Superintendent Michael Shea warned that the closure would be necessary if more state aid was not forthcoming.