Salt glut advisory

It's only a matter of days, we predict about 10, before we'll see the first media images of over-stuffed salt domes.

So far, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has had only two call-outs in the region: One was Halloween weekend, and the other for a piddling event last week that affected only part of the region.

PennDOT's Charlie Metzger reports that so far the crews have used just 7,344 tons of salt, compared with 23,094 this time last year, and 35,150 the year before.

In fact, the way things are going, the record for low-salt use, 14,907 tons in the winter of 1997-98 -- when Philadelphia measured just 0.8 inches of snow and PennDOT -- might be in trouble.

The outlooks continue to trend warmer for January, with a significant warm-up possible starting around the 22nd, with no serious evidence of a pattern change.

The two-week outlook issued this afternoon by the government's Climate Prediction Center has almost wall-to-wall warmth across the continental United States.

As for snow, forget it. Right now nothing is out there.

If you're wondering where the snow is, Alaska is a good place to look. Actually, Alaska generally is a good indicator of what's NOT happening around here since the weather is often the mirror-opposite.

Valdez is a snowy place, averaging 147.6 inches by Jan. 10. This year, Valdez has recorded 303.4 inches, 232 of those since Dec. 1.

Odds are that if a pattern is favoring snow and cold up that way, it's favoring mild and snow-less down our way.

Yes, it's early, but nothing or a reasonable facsimile has been known to happen through entire winters in the Philadelphia region.