DES MOINES, Iowa — No snow boots needed in Milwaukee. Chicago commuters aren't dodging knee-deep snow drifts frozen along city sidewalks. And children in Des Moines are settling for ice shavings dumped from a Zamboni.
Many cities in the Midwest haven't seen any decent snow this season — and some are even setting records for the number of days without it, in part because last winter was so mild and any precipitation that does fall gets soaked into the drought-parched land.
Des Moines is poised to break a record for the longest period of no measurable snowfall set in 1889, Brad Fillbach with the National Weather Service said.
The record of 277 days without snowfall was tied Friday, and Fillbach said the dry weather almost certainly will last long enough to make the streak a record-breaking 278 days Saturday.
That may not sit well with local youngsters, according to ice skating rink manager Dave Roquet. He said that after he emptied the accumulated ice from his Zamboni recently in downtown Des Moines, a group of children ran straight for the man-made snow.
"The kids just went crazy for it," he laughed. "They saw it, and I think they hadn't seen snow in so long. They just started throwing snowballs at each other."
In Nebraska, Omaha recorded its 285th consecutive snowless day Wednesday — breaking its previous record set in 2006.
Chicago and Milwaukee are just days away from breaking their records. Other areas also are either setting or close to records, while some cities are far off their usual snowfall totals.
But fear not: Forecasters are calling for snow in parts of Nebraska and Iowa tonight and into Sunday, and possibly in Chicago the next day.
Florida native Patricia Dryden admits she doesn't mind the whiteless weather at her home in suburban Des Moines.
"Two years ago there was a snowstorm," she said. "Now it's around 60 degrees. Selfishly, I'm happy."
National Weather Service program manager Jim Keeney said the country's drought conditions this year are to blame for snow not sticking to the ground.