Missouri residents deal with winter blues

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 10:12 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 18, 2010

COLUMBIA — If you’ve been moaning and groaning about how long and cold this winter seems, here’s a little validation: This is the first time in Missouri since the winter of 1982 that December, January and February have all had below-average temperatures.

So far, February has been 6.2 degrees below average; January, 4.5 degrees; and December, 2 degrees, according to MU meteorology professor Tony Lupo.

Along with the cold, this winter has been extra snowy as well — great news for the snowman population but bad for those who hate the white stuff.

“In the realm of snow, we’re ahead of the game,” Lupo said. Mid-Missouri has seen 18.5 inches of snow since Nov. 1; this area normally gets 20 inches total between Nov. 1 and March 31.  “We have not had a winter like this in quite some time,” Lupo said.

Some Columbia residents, such as Dustin Calvin, 29, are experiencing a bad case of the winter blues. “As I’ve gotten older, I hate the winter more,” she said. “It’s pretty, but it’s so cold.” Calvin said what she misses most about warm weather is the flowers.

Kristie Elliott, 38, doesn’t like winter either but takes an unusual approach in dealing with it.  “I ignore winter,” she said. “It’s my reverse psychology — if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.” 

But before you turn and gripe to your neighbor in the grocery line, know that some people look forward to this time of year.

As a meteorologist, Lupo hears a chorus of grumbles every winter about the weather, but said he likes winter better than summer.

“Hot weather is miserable,” he said. He is from upstate New York and said he believes weather preference has a lot to do with where a person grew up.

This assertion holds true for Mike Sweeney, 39.

Originally from Denver, he said he loves the snow, but he is not a fan of the Missouri cold and wind chill. Although immune to the winter blues himself, he does try to offer hope to friends suffering from this Jack Frost-induced syndrome.

“I tell them that spring is just around the corner,” he said.

Lupo said this winter has been especially tough for some because Missouri has experienced consistent cold without the reprieve of a warm spell like in previous years. “People have gotten used to getting breaks from cold, but there has been none this year,” he said.

For those fed up with winter and its triple threat of cold, snow and clouds, take solace in this: spring is a mere month away, and before you know it, your winter blues will have dissolved into spring fever.

For suggestions about what to do in cold weather, see here.

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