Is this going to happen again? Are we going to have our second warm winter in a row? And if we are, is it going to affect business again?
Unseasonably warm winter last year allowed fleets to stretch and even skip some winter maintenance intervals. There wasn’t much snow, and the while temperatures fell the number of extremely cold days nationwide was way down.
While that was a great money-saver for fleets, the lack of seasonal parts and service sales hurt the aftermarket. Sales ended 2011 on a down note and started 2012 down compared to averages, which has forced everyone to try and keep up in the months since.
And now, as I look out the window on Dec. 13 in Chicago, temperatures today are supposed to near 50 degrees. This city broke its record for the number of consecutive days without snowfall earlier this week, and now stands at 283 days since its last measurable snow fall. The city average is just 226 days.
That’s a considerable gap.
Whether global warming or the jet stream or a current warm front is the reason for this stretch, I have no idea. But I do know aftermarket businesses expected a certain bump in sales when the weather turns south and if it never does, that’s going to affect some bottom lines.
I guess the one thing we can hope for is that we learned from last year. Frigid temperatures and snowfall could still come at any time, but if they don’t, at least we know what we’re in for.