With all those cold, gray days, the consistent storms that dumped record amounts of precipitation and the weeks of frigid temperatures, this has been a memorable winter.

Although much of the Northeast dodged a bullet when last weekend's storm passed well to the south, this has still been a season for the record books in many areas. Yet another blast of cold air turned Fasnacht Day into Frigid Tuesday for a large portion of the nation.

One weather analyst said the last storm was atypical of March - and of this season - since the system produced more snow to the south and less to the north. Philadelphia received 3.4 inches from the last storm but that was enough to push the city's seasonal total to 62.9 inches, third most on record.

The severe winter has taken a toll on the Northeast. A shortage of road salt has forced some areas of Pennsylvania to declare a state of emergency. Travel schedules have been severely affected and school calendars have been altered.

The brutal weather has also had deadly consequences. Last weekend's storm alone was blamed for at least six deaths, most of them from traffic accidents on slippery roads. One woman in Bowie, Maryland, died from a likely heart attack after shoveling snow, always a hazard for persons not able to handle the physical challenge.

It's been an especially hard - even deadly - winter for the elderly. Six weeks ago, 95-year-old Alverta Taylor became the first person since 2006 to die of hypothermia in York County after she walked away from her home and apparently fell. And just two days ago, an elderly pedestrian was struck and killed by a snowplow on a street in Reading.

There appears to be some relief on the weather horizon. This Friday's high temperature are expected to climb into the 40s. The slight warm up comes as Daylight Saving Time arrives and we sacrifice an hour of sleep in exchange for a few months of extra daylight.

Daylight Saving Time has given us that famous expression, "spring forward." From what we've already experienced this winter, those two words couldn't be more welcome.

By Jim Zbick

editor@tnonline.com