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 storm that brought an onslaught of snow and freezing rain to the Northeast over the weekend has left lingering hazards into Monday travel with icy roads and school cancellations.
Yet another winter storm will take aim at the Northeast and Midwest this week with widespread ice and flooding concerns.
Wintry weather and lower temperatures will dive into the Southeast later this week, creating widespread travel disruptions.
February 2015 has come to an end with numerous monthly records set across the United States.
A wildfire burning for over two weeks in Argentina is threatening 3,000-year-old trees in Los Alerces National Park.
The beginning of March marks the start of meteorological spring in the Northern Hemisphere, but this does not signal the end of winter weather in the United States.
North Carolina (1927)
Greatest modern snowstorm: 31" at Nashville, NC; 26" at Goldsboro and Edenton; 17.8" at Raleigh.
Cedartown, GA (1942)
19.3" of snow, greatest 24-hour snowfall in state history.
Lake Tahoe, CA (1983)
A total of 215" of snow on the ground compared to 63" at the same time last year. People had to tunnel to their houses and cross country skiers were advised not to go out because they ran the risk of skiing into power lines.