By John Burton
RED BANK – Look at the calendar and it shows that spring – at least in theory – is a little less than two weeks away.
While the future holds the hope for relief, people’s teeth were still chattering this past week as they continued to hunker down against the frigid temperatures.
“Spring can’t come soon enough,” said Marilyn Acker, Toms River. Acker was on Broad Street on Tuesday, March 4, with her grandchildren, Lily and Lucas Gagno, who are students at St. James Elementary School. They were on their way to Starbucks on Broad for something warm to drink.
Acker, who is retired, said she deals with the weather by “staying in and making soup.”
The family is going to Florida in a few weeks, and Acker is “really looking forward to it.”
“The fact is it’s been a snowy winter,” said David Robinson, the state climatologist.
It has been the ninth snowiest winter for the state in the 120 years since records have been kept. Statewide, New Jersey has had 48.4 inches of snow from 18 separate snow events where at least 2 inches have fallen. For Central New Jersey, which includes Monmouth, Middlesex, Mercer, Hunterdon, Somerset and Union counties, so far its been 56.6 inches – not including the Monday, March 3 snowfall – making it the sixth snowiest winter for the region, Robinson said.
As far as cold goes, however, despite what it may feel like, this winter was only the 34th coldest in 120 years, Robinson said. But, it is the third coldest winter since 1982 with the 1993-94 and 2002-03 winters having the mercury consistently drop lower, he noted.
“It’s gotten warmer in New Jersey and you could say we’ve gotten spoiled,” Robinson said.
Regardless of what the climatologist said, people were cold early on Tuesday.
“I’m going crazy, absolutely nuts” with this weather, said Ty Palmer of Freehold, who called himself a “tropical person,” favoring warmer climes.
Would he leave the area during the winter months if the opportunity presented itself? “Yes!” the Brookdale Community College student said. “That would be a very quick decision for me.
“I really hate the cold,” Palmer insisted.
Neptune resident Latifah Glenn said, “It’s been hard, hard” winter, not only for her – she lived for six years in Florida and Arizona – but for her car. “It broke down twice” because of the weather, she said.
She has adopted the attitude that “You just run with it … You take up snow activities, you go sleigh riding. It’s all about enjoying it.”
A 16-year-old Little Silver girl, who did not want to give her name, was walking on White Street without a hat but carrying a box of tissues and continuously wiped her red, runny nose. “Not a fan of the cold,” she said while blowing her nose. The weather has been making her “grumpy,” especially because school days lost to the weather will have to be made up.
Delphine Jones, a borough resident, called the winter “really tough, very tough … It tore up my car” when it hit a pothole, she said. The vehicle is now in the shop.
“I wish I could get away,” she sighed. “I need a vacation.”
Frank Yannich of Manasquan offered the wintertime advice to “just keep grinding away the best you can. Spring was coming” and for Yannich, “It can’t come quick enough.”
Rick Going of Highlands said, “Normally winter doesn’t bother me, but this one got to me.”
To compensate for winter’s effects, Going goes to the gym, maybe a little more than usual “to get those endorphins going.”
The warm weather a few weekends ago “was such a tease,” said Lynne Mangini of Little Silver. “It ruined it for me.
“’I’m a summer girl,” who has been putting on a brave front these last few months. “Eventually, you get to the point you want it over.”
The opinion about winter of Jackie Soto of Keyport was the only positive response. “It’s great. I love it. It doesn’t bother me,” she said. “It’s been challenging but refreshing.”
As a teaching assistant there have been some days off and even more delayed openings. “So I get to sleep an hour later,” she said.
Robinson had some good news for the weary winter souls: “We’re really over the hump,” he said. Temperatures will be reaching seasonal levels over the next week – into the mid-40s. The cold experienced early in the week “will probably be the last time – absent a one-day snow event later this month – that we’re going to see temperatures below freezing during the day.”
While there’s no indication of any really warm episodes in the near future, there is no precipitation in the immediate future, either, Robinson said.
As to what the summer may be like, it’s anybody’s guess at this point.
“Generally, there’s no rhyme or reason equating the winter with the subsequent summer,” he said. “Try me in a month.”