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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

WHAT WINTER??

KENILWORTH, N.J. -- Winter? What winter?
Record keepers say 2006 was the second-warmest year ever recorded in New Jersey. There was no measurable snow in the state in December, which was the warmest since records started being kept 111 years ago, and temperatures are expected to run well above normal for the next two weeks.

You can chalk it up to a combination of the warm-weather El Nino pattern, peculiar atmospheric conditions and global warming, according to one New Jersey weather expert. "We finished the year in, if you will, blazing fashion," said David Robinson, the state's climatologist. "You can't explain the warmer temperatures we're experiencing locally and globally solely by natural variability.

It's when you factor in greenhouse gases that you see what we're seeing." With an average daily temperature in New Jersey of 55.3 degrees, 2006 was second in warmth only to 1998, when the average temperature was 55.6 degrees.

The average temperature last month was 42 degrees, nearly 7 degrees warmer than usual for December and 3/10 of a degree warmer than the runner-up, December 2001. In fact, only on Dec. 8 did the temperature fail to climb above the freezing mark. "This is great, but scary at the same time," said Maria Freitas while she and her husband played golf at the Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth as the mercury hit 48 degrees, about 9 degrees warmer than usual for Jan. 2. "You want to take advantage of it, but you wonder what things will be like 10, 15, 20 years from now."

Meanwhile, the plants in her back yard in Rahway are blooming three to four months early. "The crocuses are coming up, and I have asparagus this high," she said, holding her hands about 3 inches apart. "They think it's spring. They're so confused."

The story was the same last month throughout much of the country as well as on Tuesday, a day that two-thirds of the nation experienced temperatures in the 40s or warmer, with the plains and mountain states the main exceptions.

In Ohio, Columbus saw just a trace of snow last month, compared to the typical 5 inches in December. Cincinnati also saw just a trace, compared to its December average of 3.6 inches. In Michigan, a professional snowmobile race scheduled for just before Christmas had to be canceled because of warm temperatures. But Colorado has gotten about 6{ feet of snow from two major storms since just before Christmas.

In New Jersey, customers of New Jersey Natural Gas Co. got a December bonus in the form of an average $120 rebate due to lower energy prices.

But the financial boon does not extend to ski areas. Mountain Creek resort in Vernon closed until Thursday to give staff time to work on the limited number of trails that can still be used. The resort has an enormous snowmaking system, but hasn't been able to use it as often as it would like. "There's been zero natural snowfall, and very, very few nights when it's cold enough to make snow," said Shannon McSweeney, a resort spokeswoman. Only seven of the 46 trails are currently usable, she said, noting that a few customers canceled their planned trips, but most rebooked for later in the year. "We're holding on to the terrain we have open, but we're not making progress on getting more areas open," she said. "It's the same all over the East Coast."

In an attempt to appease the weather gods, the resort's head of snowmaking operations shaved his head last week in a thus-far futile effort to coax snow from the skies. "We're keeping our fingers crossed that the cold weather will get here soon," McSweeney said. "Either that, or sending trucks out to Colorado to steal some of their snow."

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