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Community Comment: Who needs a groundhog when I have a cherry tree?

I’ll bet, in a few weeks when we are looking forward to spring
Delta Optimist community columnist Brad Sherwin. Optimist file

I have a neighbour down the street with a Japanese cherry tree. Forget the groundhog, that tree tells me when spring is coming. As soon as it starts blooming, away go the heavy coats and tuques, and out come the ball caps and lighter jackets.

So far, nothing. A few years ago, I saw blooms on Groundhog Day. Not this year.

To say it’s been a mild winter (not counting a couple weeks in January) is an understatement. The ski hills are struggling to stay open, as the snowpack is lighter than usual, and I have no idea where my winter boots are.

It’s not like it hasn’t happened before. Remember 2010, the Winter Olympics that had no snow? Back in 2007, I ran a winter tire launch in Quebec. At the beginning of January there was no snow. In Quebec. I knew exactly how the Olympic organizers felt, but I didn’t have access to helicopters to bring it in.

I know it’s been a tough year for ski hills, but it’s nothing compared to 2014/15. I looked at the Cypress Mountain historical numbers, they only got 89 cm of snowfall that year. 

The three years following there was 10 times as much. Looking at Mount Baker, same trend – a bad year followed by a couple good ones, with stats all the way back to 1980 (the worst year those records show).

I’ve always believed we are due a certain amount of winter, it just depends on when it starts. Late start, late end. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of winter just yet. While it’s slightly warmer now, I’m not in a rush to take the winter tires off the car.

I’ll bet, in a few weeks when we are looking forward to spring, we’ll be complaining about the lousy, cold weather when the blossoms are supposed to be out.

That’s what the cherry tree is telling me.

Editor’s note: Brad Sherwin, MBA is a long-time resident of South Delta, and has been writing this column since 2011, closing in on his 200th column.