Snow Fatigue Sets in After City Endures Sixth Storm

Friday, January 21, 2011

The ritual is not new to Gary Dawoit. After each storm, he and two colleagues, armed with scrapers and shovels, have the unenviable task of clearing the snow from around three company cars.

"We're digging out again and again," said Dawoit with a laugh, "And yeah, it's getting to wear thin."

If it seems like it's been a particularly snowy winter, that's because it has been. While only four inches fell in Central Park on Friday, the National Weather Service said this sixth storm of season brings the total snowfall to a whopping 36.1 inches — three times the average amount for the period between December and January. So it’s not surprising that some people are feeling what could be called "snow fatigue."

In fact, those feelings are actually normal for this time of year, said Dr. Simon Rego, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

"If you’re thinking about the Northeast and given the frequency with which we’ve had snow storms this year, it’s quite a common phenomenon going on right now, especially in the New York area," Rego said.

But depressive symptoms that linger for more than a few days should be considered a warning sign, Rego said.

A severe psychiatric disorder that's more common this time of year is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D.  It's a sub-type of a disorder called clinical depressive disorder, or depression, and tends to have its onset as the days get shorter. 

"A lot of people will get the winter blues as the days get colder and darker," said Rego, "but actually a small percentage go on to develop lingering and severe feelings of depressed mood, which is there nearly everyday for at least a couple of weeks."

People with S.A.D. often have several other severe symptoms such as decreased energy, overeating especially of carbohydrates, trouble with sleep and concentration and increased feelings of worthlessness.

"It's when most of those symptoms occur all together for most of the day that it's reaching a level that requires clinical attention."

For most other people, Rego recommends adopting healthy routines to help combat the winter blues.

"Making sure you have a steady bedtime and rising time, eating healthy meals, continuing to exercise," Rego said.

There are also those who seem immune from snow fatigue or the winter blues.  Village resident Linda Diane Polichetti called the snowy weather "magical." 

"A lot people think find it annoying, but I love my seasons, you know," said Polichetti.  And she's feeling very confident about the prospects of more snow to come.

"I already predicted it," said Polichetti. "I feel like I have a sixth sense. I already know we're going to get three more storms. I know it. I just know it. I love it ... it just puts a smile on my face."


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Comments [5]


snow fatique? stop inventing news/'infotainment'. lame.

Jan. 27 2011 07:24 AM

Thanks for the list, but I don't know in whose universe 1 inch of snow is a "storm," let alone a tenth of an inch, so I would throw Dec 14 and Jan 18 right off the list. In truth, even the 1.7 on Jan 7 seems pushing it to me. As for the average of 12 inches from Dec-Jan . . . well, that's how averages are calculated; some years we get lots of snow in a particular time period, while other years we get almost none.

Jan. 26 2011 10:02 PM

WNYC spoke with National Weather Service (NWS). NWS told us that the storm on Friday Jan. 21 was the sixth of the season for New York City. Snowfall amounts below are for Central Park and are in inches:

Dec. 14: 0.1
Dec 26-27: 20
Jan 7: 1.7
Jan 11-12: 9.1
Jan 18: 1
Jan 21: 4.2
Total: 36.1

The NWS says the average snowfall for Dec-Jan (going back to 1890) is 12 inches.

Hope that clears things up. Thanks.

Jan. 26 2011 08:42 AM

Can anyone delineate the six storms referred to? By the time of this article, I count four, at most. It's sad that WNYC is falling into the same sensationalism as the local news station--where even an inch of snow becomes a "storm," so that they have another reason to have a headline referring to "yet another storm."

Jan. 25 2011 11:15 PM
Benjamin from Queens Village, N.Y.

It was a dark and stormy day since December 26 and I wasn't happy about it. There was about 3 snow days this year. That was really really crazy.

Jan. 22 2011 10:13 PM

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