DENTCO Sheds Light on the “Snowball Effect” from a Mild Winter
DEWITT, Mich. – (February 16, 2012) – When your company manages up to 50 million square feet of snow and ice removal per year for nationwide retailers and there has been little to no snow in most regional hubs; something is wrong. Especially when its mid-February and Punxsutawney Phil just predicted six more weeks of winter.
Kevin Dent, CEO of DENTCO, the nation’s leading Exterior Services Management® Company said, “Snowfall in the nation’s snowiest cities has added up to less than half of its average mid-February total and temperatures in the usually chilly Northeast are expected to rise into the 60s yet again. As portions of the United States experience an unusually mild start to the winter, with higher-than-normal temperatures and less-than-average snowfall, questions are raised about the weather’s effect on the environment and from a retail business standpoint, a new domino or “snowball effect”.
According to research from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), this “snowball” effect will drastically affect aquatic insects, fish and submerged vegetation that is typically protected by ice. From an angler’s standpoint, the lack of ice fishing opportunities could mean increased survival of some game species such as northern pike.
Various plants and trees will react differently; the warmer-than-usual winter could result in injury to plants, especially trees, that have not hardened (become freeze tolerant) because of the lack of persistently cold temperatures. Trees can be severely damaged by hard freezes when they finally occur. Lack of snow also means that soils are not insulated from freezing weather, which can damage shallow roots; thus, affecting many shallow-rooted trees in urban environments, wetlands, riparian zones and other poorly drained areas.
Ornamental Plants that are native to warmer climates could also be affected without snow cover. They are more likely to break buds if temperatures get warm again because many have had their cold requirements met by now. Any flowers or leaves that emerge from buds before temperatures are consistently above freezing can be damaged; severely damaged flower buds won’t produce flowers or fruit. Severely damaged leaf buds won’t produce leaves; many species can’t readily put out new leaves.
Another danger could be presented by a lack of snow pack in the spring to sustain vernal pools, keep stream levels high and keep the ground moist into summer. A dry environment is dangerous for many types of wild animals.
“Now that we have discussed much of the unfortunate negative environmental aspects, there is a faux feeling of a silver lining on this dark cloud with national retail businesses. Many national retailers will now begin struggling with finance departments on retaining appropriate and/or similar levels of snow and ice removal budgets for 2013. The ‘lack of spending’ today will seem positive to the finance departments as it allows them to retain operating expenses and increases profits and that will translate well to Wall Street. What we must not forget is the other effects this warm weather will have on our businesses and our population”, Dent said.
For the business itself, the warmer weather means early blooms in various regions and switching over to landscape maintenance, while, in some cases, budgeting for increases in spending, converting snow budgets into green budgets. This gives us an opportunity to spruce things up a bit and improve the exterior curb appeal in many locations that has often been overlooked the past three years with cut backs. This is a time to reinvest and make a capital improvement to the assets that serve the community at large.
For the population, the unusually warm winter could cause wide spread drought, impacting our drinking waters and our crops across this country creating fluctuations in the cost of goods we buy every day and impacting us nationwide.
“At this point, we can only hope for Old Man Winter to make a comeback in the month of March; otherwise, we will have a very unusual seasonal transition with many unknowns ranging from environmental issues to financial puzzles as we attempt to predict our exterior services for 2013″. As usual, we will do our best to keep our national retailers ahead of the curve, and work with them to adjust to Mother Nature and a discombobulated seasonal dent in the exterior continuum”, Dent said.
DENTCO is the 1st Exterior Service Management Company in the United States. With over 30 years of experience with retail store and facility exteriors, they offer online portfolio management for snow and ice control, parking lot maintenance, landscaping, irrigation, and various other ESM services.
For more information on DENTCO, call 800-993-3689