EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 18, 2014

Time to apply the mercy rule to winter

Residents of the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire, rise up, raise your voices and cry, “Uncle.”

We’re ready to concede. Winter has won. Now, Mother Nature, be gracious and give the region a break.

Let the denizens of the fictional Lake Wobegon hold up their shovels and ice scrapers, wreath their heads with crowns of coiled jumper cables and declare themselves tougher, stronger, more resilient.

Just past the halfway mark in February, the collective souls of the region’s residents are as depleted as the salt piles in municipal sheds, as fragile as winter maintenance budgets, as weary as only a relentless New England winter can make them.

There are, of course, those hearty souls, who pooh-pooh the winter of 2013-2014. Average, they say, nothing out of the ordinary.

They pull down their face masks to expound on previous winters when their mettle truly was tested.

How could you forget the winter of 2004-2005, when Haverhill ended just 1 unwelcome inch shy of the 100-inch total for the season?

And how about 2011? That’s the one Michael Miller, manager of the Lawrence Municipal Airport in North Andover, considers one of the worst in recent memory.

Arctic air has routinely made unwelcome forays into New England this winter, sending the temperature well below zero on too many occasions and making routine less so for the extra effort required just to go about daily life.

But Mother Nature has teased us with temperature extremes. Remember, Jan. 7 and 11? That’s when Lawrence saw highs of 60 degrees. That’s in January, folks, the same month when Lawrence recorded a high of 14 on Jan. 3.

That’s just unfair, the roller coaster ride the mercury has put us on these past two months has grown tiresome. We want to get off.

Maybe we’ve gotten soft. Remote car starters mean residents can have that second cup of coffee at the kitchen table and let the engine do the work of de-icing, defrosting, warming up.

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