Winter in North America is strange, with snow in LA and people tanning in DC

Feb. temperatures of 85 F

America's weather on Thursday has created a have-not and have-not-not divide, with temperatures in Washington, DC reaching 80F (26C) and blizzard warnings in sunny Southern California.

Other areas of the US and Canada basked in unusually warm weather while violent ice and snow storms across the nation left nearly a million without power. Forecasters claim that these extremes are not an isolated incident but rather a reflection of this winter's overall pattern, which has seen both record-breaking highs and lows across the continent.

Four people from four very different climates are interviewed about how this strange winter is affecting them.

Pedro Branco was sweltering in the unusually warm February weather in the nation's capital while lounging with his dog in a park.

Washington, DC, is experiencing one of the five warmest winters on record in the last 150 years, with Thursday's highs exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people, including Mr. Branco, attribute this to climate change.

He said, "Obviously, we know it's not supposed to be this warm this time of year, like, in the back of our minds.

For the few occasions a year when Washington gets extremely cold, he typically keeps a warm coat in his closet, but so far he has not needed it.

While he claimed to be generally enjoying the warm weather, he expressed concern about what the future of the planet might entail due to warming temperatures.

When he went snowboarding in Vermont in January of last year, the outside temperature was -20F with the windchill.

This year, he said, "I wore a sweatshirt.".

Since Randy Marklevitz has spent his entire life in south-western Michigan, about 20 miles (32 km) south of Grand Rapids, he is accustomed to whatever the winter season has in store for him in terms of weather.

He claimed that when he heard the storm was approaching, he did not give it much thought. This winter has been up and down, with a significant storm hitting in November as well as numerous mild days.

The majority of people didn't take it seriously because "we cry wolf a lot in Michigan, usually," he said.

The 55-year-old soybean farmer was fortunate to have a functional generator from the 1950s in his garage when the ice storm hit on Wednesday, felling trees and bringing down power lines. He enjoys collecting and restoring vintage farm equipment made by International Harvester.

He was still relying primarily on the generator as of Thursday noon, despite the fact that thousands of people in the area were still without power.

Randy Marklevitz near his vintage generator
Randy Marklevitz survived an ice storm without power thanks to a 1950s generator.

Depending on the region of the state, this winter has broken records in both directions. Mr. Marklevitz is from a region known as the "snowbelt," where severe winter storms are common. The amount of snowfall in Grand Rapids this winter, which is 29 inches more than usual and the most since the winter of 1951–1952, is even heavier than usual.

Only 35% of Lake Michigan's surface is covered in ice, which is significantly below average for the lake overall and a record low.

However, Mr. Marklevitz is unconcerned by these extremes.

It is a component of living in Michigan, he claimed.

When Jackson Coghill attended college, he had a unique method of getting to class: he skated. A native of Ottawa, Mr. Coghill frequently skated from the city to Carleton University along the Rideau Canal.

The world's largest skating rink, the canal, runs through Canada's capital city, which is renowned for its harsh winters.

It's this really lovely, lovely place to get some sun and exercise during the gloomy winter, he said.

In past years, the Rideau Canal has been a favourite winter pasttime
Jackson Coghill (left) has previously enjoyed spending time on the Rideau Canal during the winter.

Although he no longer travels to work on the canal, he still enjoys skating several times a week during the winter.

not though this year.

For the first time in more than 50 years, the canal skateway is still under construction. Even though there have been many chilly days, the temperature hasn't stayed below freezing for long enough for the canal ice to solidify to a safe thickness.

Positively, he noted that the season has been excellent for cross-country skiing due to the milder temperatures and plentiful snowfall.

Kim Williams likes to be ready for anything; despite living in the typically sunny Los Angeles, her closet is stocked with everything from snow boots to raincoats. She even has a collection of umbrellas, which, according to her, have been utilized significantly more this year than in the past.

This season, more than any other, "I've had the chance to use them, and I've been able to use all of them, actually," she said.

Her rainboots have also started to become more of a go-to when she's out and about in the City of Angels instead of her usual sneakers or sandals.

Winter in California has been particularly wet and chilly, with several particularly severe storms occurring around the holidays. For the first time since 1989, blizzard warnings are currently in effect for areas of Los Angeles close to the mountains.

Ms. Williams, who was born and raised in this area, claimed that while she has never experienced a blizzard there, she is looking forward to it.

She remarked, "I love gloomy weather. As long as it's brief, I believe it will be amazing. ".

Years ago, when she went to the Utah Sundance Film Festival, she experienced her first blizzard.

She remarked, "It was cool. But I also knew I would take a flight home.

Jason Armesto contributed more reporting.

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