The 2011-2012 winter season has been unusually mild throughout much of North America. Although Alaska, Canada, the Great Lakes region, and parts of New England, have experienced heavy snowfalls and bitter cold, warm, sunny days and mild nights have dominated the winter in many areas. According to meteorologists, warm winter weather has been due to shift in the jet stream over parts of North America.
The warm winter has affected North American consumers and businesses in a variety of ways. Snow shovels and rock salt sit unsold in hardware stores. Fuel delivery trucks are less busy as homes require less heat. In some regions, ski resorts had little or no snow.
In Washington D.C., and other areas, cherry trees that normally bloom in late March began blooming in January. Gardeners have also experienced unusual plant growth. In parts of the USA, gardens that were normally snow-covered have yielded winter harvests of greens, lettuce, herbs, onions, and other crops.
The mild winter has affected freshwater fishing in North America. Many of the best lakes for ice fishing have been ice free or experienced only thin covers of ice. In many of the milder areas, anglers that decided to go fishing found fish very active.
Wildlife has also been affected by the mild winter. In many areas, deer, elk, and other mammals have abundant food sources. In addition to early tree buds, many areas have experienced unusual growth of grasses and other wild plants.