Snowquestered Psyche

Winter wants to stay in Maryland this year. That sounds like it’s been horrible, right? And yet, except for some early storms in the western mountains, the rest of us only saw a few inches for a few days at Christmas. I’ll bet a lot of folks in the Midwest and New England would trade places with us in a heartbeat.

But it’s been cold and gray most days, and we’ve rarely had two consecutive days of sunshine. How people in the Pacific Northwest handle that every winter is beyond me. When the calendar turned to March, most of us were looking forward to temperatures in the 50s and 60s and more sunshine as the days grow longer.

Winter stuck around this past week in the form of Snowquester. Sorry, Weather Channel, but your latest attempt to dramatize the weather by naming winter storms doesn’t impress many of us around DC.  Hmm, maybe dramatize isn’t a dramatic enough word these days. Maybe meteorologists would prefer to “dramaticize” the weather. But I digress. Back to named storms.

Gandalf? Q? Rocky? Saturn? Please. I live in the land of Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse. This year, our first (and likely last) storm is Snowquester. For those of you lucky enough to be puzzled by this term, it’s a play on the latest US political game of domestic brinksmanship referring to the state of “sequestration” in our federal budget.

The forecast for our area was 10 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow. The kind that brings down trees and power lines. The kind that sends us out to stockpile candles, bottled water, and foods that need no cooking or refrigeration because our power companies are rated at the bottom of the scale for quality and service.

We lucked out. We woke up on Wednesday to a wet dusting rather than the predicted 3 inches of overnight snow.

When I left for my 10 o’clock dentist’s appointment, we had just over an inch on the ground. Big, wet flakes were falling, but nothing approaching serious conditions. The roads were slushy, and to my surprise, the other drivers were being cautious—a rare sight in these parts.

At noon, we had some huge flakes falling, and some snow was sticking to the sidewalks and streets. Emphasis on some.

And then the rest of the day (and evening) was light flurries and then rain.

Snowquester arrived in my part of Maryland following a feverish flurry of frightening forecasts. It left leaving limited, lackluster levels of leaden slush.

I’m hoping this was winter’s last gasp around here. We’re supposed to reach 60 this weekend, and I’ve got my fingers crossed. I’m ready to lose the Seasonal Affective Disorder for another year. This is the worst it’s been since moving to Maryland in 2005, and my outlook and writing have suffered as a result. There have been days when I’ve considered giving up on the WIPs and writing in general. Maybe warmer temperatures and more sunshine will help.

Basically, this is a wandering, long-winded way of saying I had no inspiration for today’s post. I’ll try for something more entertaining next Saturday. But first, I should get to work on Meghan’s story for Tuesday. Now where did that girl get to?

To close on a fun note, I’d like to share the poem Rilla Z wrote in response to last Saturday’s “More Fun With Search Terms Post.” I could not have been so clever!

When I grow up, I want to be forensical,
Rather than be active and calisthenical.
I’d rather probe dead bones,
Than move these living ones;
So, when I’m old, I’ll be grumpy and phrenetical.

Have a great weekend!

65 thoughts on “Snowquestered Psyche

  1. We’re predicted to have some more snow and freezing temperatures in our part of the UK over the next few days which is a bit surprising. I do love a good snowfall, as long as I’m not trying to get anywhere. But I am really ready for some warm weather! The spring is great because there is the promise of the whole summer ahead. Of course here in the UK the summer is usually disappointing, but our optimism in the spring is high every year!

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    • I shouldn’t complain too much because some areas have seen record amounts of snow this winter. They keep getting pounded by storm after storm. But the gray and cold have really hit me hard this year. If the forecasts are right, we’re heading into a mild and mostly sunny week. I hope so!

      I’ve always wanted to visit Great Britain and Ireland, but I don’t know if I could take all the rain and fog you apparently have. 😉 It might be different if I grew up with weather like that, though.

      Here’s to a pleasant spring and summer across the northern hemisphere. 🙂

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      • Ha! Well our rainfall over the year is comparable to Seattle, and we get very few days of fog in a year now, it’s not like the old Sherlock Holmes movies here now you know! 😉 So do come and visit! I do hate the gray drizzly days though, you never get used to those!

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        • Someday hubs and I will make it over there. I want to see where some of my ancestors came from. I’m sure there’s some story inspiration in there. 🙂

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  2. I’ve been pleased we missed the last couple big storms, but we’ve had plenty of gray. Although I do see sunshine this morning so fingers crossed it stays. I’m with you. Time for S.A.D. to move on. My serotonin levels want to normalize. 😉

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    • It’s been years since I’ve felt so crummy over the winter, and I haven’t liked it. This morning, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and it’s almost 50. My fingers are crossed that the forecast for this week is right—mostly sunny and in the 50s to 60. That should start bringing me out of this funk. Although, the time change might negate the sun. I hate “springing ahead” and the havoc it plays with sleep!

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      • The leap ahead by an hour doesn’t disturb my sleep cycle, but I hate losing an hour, especially on a Saturday night!

        March is my least favorite month because I’m so ready for spring, but you can’t trust the month. It teases you with a warmer, sunny day, and then a few days later more snow. Yucky.

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  3. Like you, JM, I found this winter especially difficult to weather (pun intended) gracefully. My get up and go left around November, and no matter how much of an effort I make to keep it around and entertained, as soon as the sun goes down so does my ooomph! SO looking forward to springing ahead this weekend – an hour seems like a small sacrifice to make to regain my evenings! xoxoM

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    • I just said to Carrie above how hard the time change is for me. The first week I’m usually dragging as I try to readjust my internal clock. I’d rather not change at all, especially since the original reasons for it really don’t apply any more. But I’m hoping a week of predicted sunshine and milder temperatures comes through. In between the writing and reviewing I need to do this weekend, hubs and I are planning a few nice walks!

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  4. So envious. Please box up as much of the snow as possible and ship it here. Half of what you show in the images above would be sufficient to shut down the entire Saudi rode system and get me a “snow week” rather than day, for which I would be eternally grateful. -A

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    • If I could, I would! And I bet a lot of other folks would be happy to do the same. It doesn’t take much to shut things down around here, either. I can’t believe how quickly schools are closed. When I was growing up, we wouldn’t have missed a beat, but here? Heaven forbid anyone have to walk through three or four inches of falling snow!

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  5. Would it be mean to mention that here in the Pacific NW, while frost glazed the rooftops this morning, my hellebores and crocus are in bloom? Sorry. I moved away from frigid Michigan winters and love living in a more temperate climate. You can always come visit when you get cabin fever. 🙂 I did enjoy your photos. They remind me of my Michigan childhood.

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    • Well, I have to admit our first bulbs are blooming now. I’ve seen a few snow iris and early daffodils since “noquester.” And today is beautifully clear and mild. But I really need at least a week or two of this to start clearing the S.A.D. Next year I might invest in one of those light boxes that are supposed to help.

      A friend’s two sisters are in Portland, and they love it. I’ve been to Washington a couple of times in the late spring and loved it, too, but I don’t think I could take all those gray winter days…. 😉

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  6. Are you serious they named a storm Snowquester after the sequester that is/will negatively impact so many lives? Well, isn’t that special and oh-so-sensitive. I’m over winter as well, JM. Yesterday we got snow, but it’s all melted off now, sunny and in the 50s! Woo-hoo! I remember when I thought the 50s was cold. Everything is relative but seriously, I wish they’d quit naming each snowflake a name and have weather-gasms over them. Geez. Happy weekend,

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    • I think there’s an element out here of “if we don’t laugh about it, we’ll cry.” I know “bureaucrats” are an easy target for most people, but most of the ones I know are decent, normal people trying to do their best and raise their families just like anyone else. They do good work and don’t abuse the system. I can’t say, however, that I get the same feeling from the politicians who would rather gut the middle and working classes rather than compromise. When did people forget that comprise is one of the fundamental tenets of democracy?

      We’re sunny and near 60, too. Even though I grew up in Illinois when winters were colder and snowier, 7 years in Maryland has turned me into a weather wimp. Before, I shrugged off temps in the 20s. Now? Holy smokes, it’s too cold to do anything!

      That over-the-top every-story-is-a-life-and-death-situation keeps me from watching much news of any kind. I can’t take it or the effect it’s having on American behavior. But I’m afraid most people wouldn’t agree….

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  7. Well, after a day of snow yesterday we’re in the mid-40s, blue, cloudless skies, and major melting everywhere. I ran errands and didn’t even bring my ski jacket! First day I could do that since November.

    I don’t think I could handle grey weather year-round either. Hubs is in Seattle for work, and he’s been there over a month. He said he’s seen blue skies twice–and they didn’t even last all day. No thank you. I need my sun.

    I’m sorry that this terrible weather is affecting your writing mood. I know how that goes. Sending you warm and sunny thoughts — spring is on the way!

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    • Our slush is gone, too, and the bulbs are starting to bloom—finally. Most winters we’ve seen them going in February. Those endless gray skies in the Northwest would drive me crazy. They were bad enough this winter, and next year I might buy a light box just in case it’s another dark winter.

      Meghan’s finally given me more details for her story, which is a relief. I’m still drafting out Tuesday’s post, but at least I know where we’re heading—for a while, anyway. Maybe this is the start of renewed creativity and I’ll be able to get something accomplished with one of the WIPs. I sure hope so.

      I think your husband owes you some house and yardwork duties when he gets home. You’ve been doing a lot of shoveling on your own! 😉

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      • I have been doing a lot of shoveling, this is sadly true. This morning I woke up super-sore and for a minute I couldn’t figure out why until I remembered I’d shoveled a total of three hours yesterday! It’s a good workout, to say the least.

        I hadn’t thought of getting a light box before. Maybe I’ll be doing the same thing next winter!

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  8. Great poem there at the end. Made me laugh. You might feel that way in 2-3 more decades–wanting to dig up old bones than move your own. I’m dealing with spring soccer here–froze my feet and hands this morning standing in the wind to watch my boy play. I could hardly walk when it was over–my body had frozen. Oh well, at least he wasn’t playing in hail or snow today even if it was cold (we’ve done that before). I’m crossing my fingers that spring hits you soon. With those sweet sunny days comes inspiration.

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    • When I was in school, cold weather really didn’t bother me. Funny how things change as we get older or move to a different climate. 😉 When it’s cold, I suspect it’s more comfortable to be the ones playing the game rather than watching it!

      We had a beautiful day today, and tomorrow should be similar, but then it’s back to cloudy for a couple of days, then sunny, then cloudy…. At least the temperatures should be in the 50s, so that will help. Meghan cooperated and let me draft out Tuesday’s post today, which may be a good sign. At least I hope so!

      Rilla’s poem gave me a much-needed laugh when I read it. I haven’t done enough of that this winter. Hopefully, that will be changing as Spring finally arrives. 🙂

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  9. I couldn’t live in the Pacific Northwest either. Too gray. My friend’s kid went to college in Eugene, OR for one year. He couldn’t handle the weather. He said he didn’t mind the rain. He hated the gray day after day with NO rain. Here’s sending you good thoughts for spring coming to you soon.

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    • A friend’s two sisters love Portland, but I don’t know how they take the gray. I have the feeling lots of coffee is involved…. Fifties are forecast for this week, so maybe we’ve turned the corner. Those good thoughts are much appreciated—maybe they can help combat tonight’s time change. 😉

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      • Oh gosh . . . thanks for the reminder about that! I keep forgetting.

        My sisters live in Portland and love it. I guess you get used to it. When the sun is out there, it is gorgeous. When it is not, it is just plain dreary.

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  10. RC had been very busy purring the snow around you and the German. The German has no wish to be the Snow Queen this winter. (although the wimps are using any excuse to keep from working on her dog park…grrrrrrr) (We did tune in DC TV to check on predicted terrible snow: nothing. It was funny – many got a day off – well maybe the rest and relaxation was appreciated!)
    Wish the weather guys would go back to just calmly talking about weather – please cut the drama and “names” – it’s weather not things that need human personalities …some marketing PR person must have suggested all this?
    The redbud trees are out here – and a flock of pink ibis rested for a couple of hours before going on – so hang on! (We are bouncing between windy, cool, and gray damp days and warm sunny ones) It’s too bad air travel is so expensive or bloggers could have a great time bouncing around to visit more pleasant climates.
    I hate the time switch – throws me off. But guess we’ll be watching the sunrises again on morning walks….Molly is always eager to start the day….
    Planning to yawn along with you

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    • It seems things will shut down around here at the mere mention of snow. Even if my childhood walks to school weren’t uphill both ways, we still had to go to class in sub-zero temperatures with several inches of snow falling. It took some major weather for us to get a snow day.

      At least the German hasn’t had to deal with much snow, just cold and gray days. I hope they get her park finished this spring so she can enjoy the room to run around.

      I think the dramatic weather reports become the modern-day “boy who cried wolf.” When the storms don’t materialize, people get complacent and ignore future warnings. And when that storm does hit, the disaster is all the worse because people didn’t prepare.

      Please send my best regards to RC. She’s been rather quiet on the blog this winter, and I hope she’s not having any difficulties within the Realm.

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    • Slowly, we’re getting there…. The days are getting longer, which is more obvious when we get the rare sun. I just have to be patient, but it’s getting more difficult….

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  11. It snowed AGAIN in NH on Friday and the kids got another day off of school…which just means we will be going to school all summer. The names of storms crack me up. The very next day after the snowstorm it was 50 degrees and the snow is almost gone. Strange world. I’ve enjoyed your blog and the clever words. Have a great weekend!

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Amy! I’m glad we dodged the snowstorms this winter. Most people in Maryland don’t know how to handle it. I think half the population or more must be from southern states and countries that don’t typically see snow. Driving becomes a serious hazard as a result! It’s probably best that they close the schools when they do. 😉

      We’re enjoying a beautiful sunny weekend with temps around 60. After lunch, we’ll break out the bikes for the first ride of the year. That should be a good workout.

      Hope you’re enjoying your weekend, too!

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  12. Long cold winters can be really depressing. I had to buy a footwarmer last winter when I was living in a very cold part of Australia – at times I couldn’t move for most of the day because I just couldn’t warm up. I’m loving the tropics! Rub those hands together and get Meghan back on the case! 😀

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    • Meghan finally opened up this weekend about the next couple of episodes. I was truly getting worried that she would leave me at a brick wall. I’m not sure I’ll be over that fear until the story’s finished. 🙂

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  13. “Up” here in Philadelphia, we got away with just a few flurries on Friday early morning, before it all melted by Friday afternoon. Yesterday (Saturday), we had highs in the 50s, so I think the mid-Atlantic seaboard has felt winter’s last hurrah, this year. Overall, it was a rather mild season, though. Being from upstate Western New York, the holidays were a bit disappointing, but I think I’d rather deal with not having to shovel 18 inches. 🙂

    The weird thing about winter weather late – or, warm weather around Christmastime – is that it screws up my perceptions. Walking to the office on Friday, I actually thought, “This isn’t so bad, for January.” Then, I remembered: it’s March, dummy! 😀

    For writing, I always seem to be writing the opposite time of year in which I’m currently living, so the weather doesn’t affect the stories any. I get the issue with doldrums, though. Cold I can handle. Sunny, brisk cold can be rather nice. But dreary, overcast cold is something else. It just sucks the life out of me. If you’ve been experiencing a lull in your writing, it doesn’t show, though. I’ve loved having Meghan and her supporting cast brighten my winter weeks. 😀

    Here’s hoping to a lasting, sunny Spring for everyone!

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    • I second that motion for Spring! 🙂

      Writing the last eight episodes or so of Meghan’s story have been like pulling teeth. I still worry that a Tuesday will roll around where I put up a post that says, “I’m just not ready with another chapter. Back next week—I hope.” Doing these two stories live has been a terrific writing exercise, but I’ll really need a break after this story is done. Meghan can give me another story—I hope she does. But I’ll write it ahead of time before putting it on the blog.

      We’re going to be back-and-forth with the clouds and sun again this week, but at least the temps will be milder. That should help. I’m hoping to be more my normal self come April. But a gray rainy March wouldn’t help…. 😛

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  14. January through March I’m glad I’m not back in my hometown of Chicago. But, the rest of the year, Florida is too hot for me. Since our weather down here is heading to HOT already, I’m sure that means yours will be pleasant very soon.

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    • I’m looking forward to Spring. We actually had a beautiful weekend here, but now they’re saying we could get snow showers late next week. Ugh! Please let them be wrong!

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  15. JM, I think spring may be on the way! We saw upper 60s and lots of sunshine this weekend in NC! I think your state has gotten hit with plenty of SAD stuff this year… maybe not 24 inches of stuck-in-the-house-for-weeks snow, but like you said… not happy stuff. Here’s hoping things turn around quickly. (I also noticed that the cars parked outside in your photos had a gray cast to them, too!)

    It’s good to read your blog again… I’m sorry I’ve missed it lately!

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    • I certainly understand that you’ve got a lot more on your plate right now! My part-time hours have picked up a bit, too, and I’m having a hard time adjusting my schedule to that. Switching to full-time would mean I couldn’t do as much writing or blogging.

      I was looking forward to a week in the 50s, but now they’ve put snow showers in the extended forecast. That’s the last thing I wanted to see. 😦 Maybe they’ll change it back again as the week goes on.

      There are a lot of gray and silver cars out here. You don’t see the “hyper silver” Sonata in our driveway, but it looked awfully gray, too, in that slush. 😉

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  16. LOL. They called the 3 foot snow we got in February in CT Wintercane. 😉 We seem to have gotten those 12 inches here. They predicted 6 and low and behold we were surrounded by a foot of snow. Luckily it was 55 today so the melting was pretty awesome.

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    • Winter just doesn’t want to end this year. The only good thing about snow in this part of the country in March is that it usually does melt pretty quick. But I’d rather not see any more until 2014. 🙂 Wouldn’t it be loverly if we could all have a nice, long spring with lots of sunshine and flowers?

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  17. Hahah – I love your forensical poem! We just got a bunch of slush last time around too. I do love watching the snow fall, but it’s sad to see all the trees down around here because of it. So I’m looking forward to spring, even if it does mean I’ll need to come out of hibernation!

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    • We had a great weekend, but of course it’s cloudy today and supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow. And they can’t seem to decide if we’ll have snow showers later this week or not. Ugh. I’m definitely ready to come out of hibernation because I hope it will improve my mood and spark my creativity again!

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  18. Hey, we’re with you. And don’t you dare give up! I wish I could send you some of our sun from out here in California. We’re expecting highs in the 80’s today, and frankly I’d prefer it to stay cooler.

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    • 80s in March is a bit much. Some years we’ve had a few days reach that territory, and it’s too much, too soon. It really plays havoc with the spring flowers. I’m still waiting for one beta reader’s comments, but I’m facing the likelihood of retiring one WIP to the bottom drawer. And that’s really brought me down and made me question pursuing publication of any kind with any work. In time, I’ll move on. But cold, cloudy days hold me back.

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  19. I actually walked my dog tonight without freezing my butt off. It’s a beautiful 52 degrees at 9:00 PM on the east coast. It was a really nice day. We completely missed “the big one” that was supposed to hit last weel. Just got rain. The next day we got a dusting that melted by mid-day. Kiddies were disappointed.

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    • It’s funny how I used to love snow as a kid, but now…. Ugh! The sun’s peeking through this afternoon, but we had torrential rains this morning. As an adult, I’ll take those over snow any day. And it looks like they took out the snow showers for this weekend and changed them to rain. What I wouldn’t give for a full week of sun and 60 degrees. 🙂

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    • We’re down a bit on precipitation, but not as bad as parts of the west. Today’s drama was just par for the course when I was a kid. 😉 No, I didn’t have to walk uphill both to and from school! But my dad did ride his pony…. 🙂

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  20. Our weather has been very unpredictable this year. One day it’s really warm and sunny and then it’s cold and grey with a bitter wind again.

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    • I’ve got a sneaking suspicion we’re going to see a lot more unpredictability in future winters. More extremes from one year to the next, more ups and downs during a season…. Things are different than they used to be.

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  21. I love snow! But that’s because we hardly every get any. And when we do, not matter how small a dusting or how big a dump, the whole country grinds to a halt and we all take the day off to have snowball fights.

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    • Everyone taking the day off to have snowball fights sounds like fun! This last round was far too slushy to make a good snowball. I also just read an article that shows our snowfall levels have been decreasing since at least the 1940s in Maryland. Those fun snow days for the kids might disappear….

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      • Skiing in Europe could also be under threat. The world seems to be acting too slowly to stop the real threat of climate change. I’m not talking about skiing now – but food, survival, that sort of thing. You know, stuff we should actually be a little bit worried about.

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