The winter that hasn't been

Mittens, scarves and down jackets remain stashed away on many days as Syracuse experiences an atypically mild winter.

This winter is, thus far, Syracuse's fourth warmest since 1902. And following last year's nearly record-setting winter for snowfall, the total this year in Syracuse is almost 12 feet less than at this time in February, according to the National Weather Service.

With daytime temperatures routinely hovering above freezing and limited precipitation continuing to baffle students and residents in the Salt City, The NewsHouse set out to gauge the somewhat sunny city's reaction.

"It's great to be able to actually walk to Marshall Street for some food. Last year, you wouldn't have been able to make it outside without freezing."
- Brent Johnson

Brent Johnson, a conservation biology student at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is loving the unusual climate. "It's great to be able to actually walk to Marshall Street for some food," he said. "Last year, you wouldn't have been able to make it outside without freezing."

For Syracuse University photography senior Mitchell Franz, this is the best winter he's seen in his three years at SU.

"Every day, I go outside and I see it' s 40 or 50 degrees and there's no snow. Praise the Lord!"

Believe it or not, however, the lack of snow in a city famous for harsh winters has disappointed some of its inhabitants.

"We wanted the snow!" said Carla Capettilo, a Mexican student from the Rotary Youth Exchange Program who is here for only this current school year. Though she has been "really, really cold," she was looking forward to experiencing the notorious Syracuse snow.

Even those who have experienced the wrath of past winters miss the snow.

"I don't want to be the guy who wishes snow on Syracuse, but I'd rather have snow than a lot of wind and rain," said political science senior Nick Balsamo. "I'd rather walk in powder than slip."

And what political science sophomore Alicia Collins misses are the activities winter weather provides. "I miss sledding; and [snow] definitely looks a lot prettier than the rain and mud," she said.

However, the uncertainty of the weather so far makes some feel tense.

"It was a lot colder in Connecticut last year," said arts and sciences freshman Caroline Habjan. "I expected it to be cold here as well, but the weather kind of puts you on edge. You just don't know when the snow is coming."

Many SU basketball fans have little to complain about. Trips to and from the Dome are a bit less harsh than usual, leaving fans more keen on celebrating after one of SU's 24 wins.

"The lack of snow does make the win a little better," said sophomore Brian Lee after the West Virginia game Jan. 28. The weather made it possible for the fans celebrate and eat hotdogs in the parking lot before going home."

"This is the warmest I can remember it being this time of year," said 65-year-old Michael Cole. He has been driving to Syracuse basketball games from Scranton, Penn., for over 20 years.

"We came up here one year and the whole bus froze," he said. "When we returned from the game, it was stuck in the snow!"

The weather has also encouraged more students to camp outside before games.

"There were more groups camping out for the Florida game in December than I've seen in my four years here," said information management and technology senior Gerard Hugel.

The more experienced campers at the Dome, however, don't think the weather will stay like this for long. Writing and rhetoric senior Dan Lyons camped out in sub-zero temperatures in 2009 for a Louisville game.

"You know the deal, it snows a lot here," he said. "It's not here now, but it'll come. We'll get a huge storm in February and all the freshmen will freak out."

NewsHouse staffers Cody Combs, Caitlin Francis, Lorne Fultonberg, Ben Glidden, Veronica Magan, Eva McKend, Drew Roberts, Nick Toney and Courtney Volk contributed to this report.

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