The unusual winter weather this season, from the mild temperatures to the scarce snowfall, has resulted in a complicated give-and-take for the U.S. economy.
The lack of snow has meant few days on the road for plowers and a bundle of money being saved on labor costs, salt and other supplies.
According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Information Specialist Erin Waters, "As far as our winter service expenditures, as of Dec. 31, 2011, we had spent $37.8 million. Last winter through that same time, we had spent $55.3 million."
"Our salt usage through Dec. 31, 2011, was 32,000 tons. During that same time period for 2010, we had used 94,000 tons," she added.
Many townships have had similar savings.
"The small number of winter maintenance call-outs has resulted in a savings in employee overtime costs, contracted winter maintenance services and material costs," Public Works Director Mark Whitfield of Centre County, Pa., said.
However, the surplus money is not something townships are celebrating, yet. Many have decided to save the money in case of a later, more severe winter.
"I am always hesitant to say that we have saved a lot of money in the middle of the winter, because the savings can evaporate rather quickly. It is easier to answer this question in mid-April than in mid- January," Whitfield said. "I think it is important to remember that in the past, we have used an entire annual winter maintenance budget in one month."
Some places have used the opportunity to work on maintenance projects that would typically be on hold this time of year.
"Because of the mild conditions, we were able to keep many construction zones open longer," Walters said.
Hennepin County in Minnesota is no exception.
"In addition to maintaining regular snow and ice control operations, the county has had opportunity to complete some road repair work typically reserved for the spring and fall. These duties have included shoulder repairs along our rural highways, as well as asphalt crack sealing operations," Chris Sagsveen said, Division Manager for the Road and Bridge Operations Division of the Transportation Department of Hennepin County.
Additionally, the warmer temperatures have meant lower heating costs for many people, leaving extra spending money in the pockets of many Americans.
In a winter that has not yet demanded we stock up on shovels and snowblowers, where are Americans allotting their spare funds? Are we saving or spending?
It appears that this season's less active winter weather may have been a dream come true to retailers. According to ComScore, a market research organization, Consumers spent $35.3 billion online between Nov. 1, 2011, and Dec. 26, 2011, 15% more than consumers spent online in the same time period in 2010.
A multi-vehicle accident involving more than 50 vehicles occurred amid snow showers and brutal cold and led to the shutdown of Interstate 78 in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, Saturday morning.
The coldest air of the winter is gripping much of the eastern United States and will feature single-digit and sub-zero temperatures in the Northeast this Valentine's Day weekend.
The dangerous cold gripping the eastern United States will set the stage for disruptive snow and ice to unfold from Tennessee and Georgia to Maine Presidents Day into Tuesday.
Voters heading out to the polls on Saturday, Feb. 20, can expect mild weather and dry conditions for the next step in the 2016 Presidential Election.
The dangerous cold gripping the eastern U.S. will continue to allow snow showers and squalls to stream downwind of the Great Lakes this weekend and posing more hazards for motorists.
Heavy rain will raise the risk of flooding across more than a dozen states in the Southeast on Presidents Day to the East Coast on Tuesday.
Gulf Coast (1899)
Very cold morning along Gulf Coast; New Orleans 6.8 deg.; Mobile -1 deg.; Pensacola 7 deg.; Tallahassee -2 deg (All time record for Florida. Brownsville 12 deg. (all time low).
Snowflakes in Florida: trace at Ft. Myers (26.5 deg. N).
Pond, AR (1905)
-29 deg.; record low for state.