Warmer weather in Roanoke Valley impacting environment and local businesses

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 5:27 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Trees and flowers are starting to bloom around town, an unusual sight for mid-winter.

“We went from crazy cold weather right around mid-December and then we’ve had this unseasonably warm weather lately,” Chelsea Peters, an assistant professor of environmental studies at Roanoke College, said.

While most of us are enjoying the nicer temperatures, Peters explained it can have long-term impacts.

“People are excited about the warm weather, they feel bliss, but there’s also this dissonance, this uneasy feeling that maybe we shouldn’t be having this weather in February,” Peters said. “Those budding flowers may not make it to spring; we also might see differences in migratory bird patterns and the emergence of pests if we don’t have a nice, cold winter.”

The lack of snow is also affecting business operations for landscapers, who typically thrive with snow removal in the winter. The operations manager at Varsity Landscaping & Grounds, LLC explained how many of the tools used to clear snow have been sitting in a warehouse all season.

“It does hurt when you bought a new truck and a new plow and you don’t get to use it,” Justin Carr said. “I’ve got two plows over here that haven’t even seen snow yet.”

No snow means the company saw a decrease in revenue.

“We’re feeling the effects on the financial end just because we don’t have that cash injection, but we are still out billing money,” Carr said. “We’re kind of enjoying it a bit.”

Landscaping companies haven’t had to remove any snow this year, so they’re using this week’s warmer weather to get ahead on spring projects, like laying down mulch.

“Usually what will happen is the snow will push us behind,” Carr said. “We’re able to go out and get it done now, instead of waiting till spring.”

You can keep up with the latest weather changes here.