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Editorial: Warmer days are coming

Yet another round of snow predicted to hit the region isn't what most of us want to deal with, but the unusually harsh winter provides myriad lessons on the value of planning.

From the smallest family being able to handle a power outage to the largest municipality tasked with maintaining miles of roads, it is important to have a plan to deal with any situation.

We've seen pretty much everything so far this winter.

We've had long cold snaps that have left car batteries dead and vehicles - and their owners - stranded.

We've had snow hitting at the worst possible time at rush hour, making driving dangerous.

We've had a major ice storm that resulted in massive power outages and caused considerable personal property damage because of trees and branches falling.

And now the National Weather Service says we are likely to get hit with another storm.

Municipalities are already trying to figure out how to pay for the cost of road salt and overtime. Since we can't predict what Mother Nature will do in any given season, it is only through good planning that local governments are able to take care of roads and emergencies that arise due to winter storms. Even with that, the last storm left some governments already beyond what they had budgeted, and money to pay for those overages, as well as storms coming the rest of the winter, will have to come from reserves, contingency funds or other sources.

Families with fixed budgets have already struggled with higher heating costs due to the cold weather. The added money that goes in to paying for heating bills will have to be made up from elsewhere too.

And adding to the burden are things like automotive repair costs or, worse, the cost of having to fix problems associated with frozen or broken pipes in the house.

We can't anticipate every problem that might occur, and a few winters that aren't as harsh can lull us into a false sense of security that makes it all the more difficult when we do have to deal with weather like we have been seeing this season.

The only consolation may be in the fact that, despite its best efforts, winter can't hang around long. In a little over a month we will transition into spring, and even if winter tries to hold on through the end of March, you can bet that we will be out of this pattern of extended freezing and below normal temperatures.

For now, it isn't too late to plan for the coming weeks, or even this week's weather, and take some solace in the fact that spring - while it may seem a distant hope today - is just around the corner.

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