Although certainly not true for some areas of the U.S., the majority of the country experienced warmer than usual weather conditions this winter. After a fall season filled with predictions of a record El Niño, many areas of the country, particularly in the Northeast, set record temperature highs for the time of year.
For example, this past December New York City set a record for the warmest Christmas in its history. Temperatures reached 66 degrees Fahrenheit in Central Park on Dec. 25, 2015; and a few days later, another record was shattered in the area. A noontime temperature the following Thursday of 72 degrees measured only three degrees cooler than July 4, 2015.
A historic El Niño is one significant contributing factor to the unusual winter conditions — as well as excessive flooding in some areas — our country is currently experiencing. Early last month, NASA reported that this year’s El Niño was on track to surpass the worst on record, and it showed “no signs of waning.”
Many Americans, who are usually bundled under layers of winter clothing, were seen with shorts and t-shirts these past normally frigid months. And their cars, which are usually soiled with ice melt, salt and sand, were not exposed to the harsh elements of previous winters.
While not a true seasonal business, professional carwashers, especially in the Northern U.S., usually report an uptick in business around the winter months. Despite early warnings, some carwash owners and operators might have been caught by surprise this winter.
However, veteran carwash owners may have planned to overcome any expected shortfalls. After all, there was plenty of time to do so. These proactive owners and operators most likely used their experience in the industry and lessons learned from previous atypical winters.
In 1998, in an article published by the Los Angeles Times, several carwash owners shared their experiences as the country endured significant El Niño conditions. One carwasher noted that it was the worst season he could remember since joining the industry in 1963, while another added that his company was experiencing a 60 percent decline in business.
Which group were you in? Were you able to plan for these conditions, or were you caught off guard? We want to hear from you. Please connect with us on social media — Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — to share your experiences from this winter and how these unusual weather patterns affected your bottom line, if at all.