Minimal snow in Midwest means big savings, headaches

A mild winter means cash-strapped governments save money. But lack of snow can be costly for others.

Stacey Vanek Smith: It's been a pretty mild winter so far in much of the country and there hasn't been a lot of snow. Balmy temperatures have left the upper Midwest drier than normal, and that's been a mixed economic blessing for places like Ohio.

From WCPN in Cleveland Brian Bull has more.


Brian Bull: So far, road crews and plows have had it easy, compared to last winter's thick snowdrifts and blizzards.

Brent Kovacs of the Ohio Department of Transportation says so far, the state has used roughly 20,000 tons of salt on roads.

Brent Kovacs: Compared to this time last year, we used approximately 202,000 tons of salt. That is about a relevant savings of $11 million in salt alone, statewide.

That's dollars many local governments could use these days. But not everyone's giddy about the sparse winter.

Guy Nerren: You're making me cry.

Guy Nerren is a racing coach with the Hi-Rise Ski Club in Cleveland. A major race this weekend could be jeopardized by warming temperatures. Nerrens says he's also concerned about the resort where the event is supposed to be held.

Nerren: They probably make maybe a third of their revenue right before Christmas and right after New Year's, and that's certainly got to hurt them quite a bit.

After this week's snowfall, Cleveland has about 10 inches -- less than two-thirds the seasonal average.

In Cleveland, I'm Brian Bull for Marketplace.

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