NEW YORK -- (MainStreet) -- When you've already had a warm winter and are getting temperatures into the 70s and 80s in March, what's to anticipate about spring?
The start of the Major League Baseball season aside, this year's transition from winter to spring for the Northeast and much of the Midwest will be among the mildest in history. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, December through February was the fourth-warmest winter on record for the lower 48 states. The average temperature was 3.9 degrees above the average from 1901 to 2000 and the warmest since 2000.
Unusually mild winters that hurt ski slopes and may crush crops could boost sales and travel.
In Albany, N.Y., for example, the average high in January was 37 degrees, when it's usually below freezing, according to the National Weather Service. In Tulsa, Okla., the average high last month was about 57 degrees, 9 degrees higher than normal. The Upper Midwest, Great Plains and a few other areas were "much above normal" in temperature, NOAA said. None of that news amounts to anything good and could end up being really harmful to trees, shrubs and perennials, says Dr. Bert Cregg, an associate professor in the horticulture department at Michigan State University specializing in tree physiology and nursing landscape.
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