While the calendars marked Christmas and New Year's, the weather felt more like Easter.
Papillion and La Vista enjoyed a green Christmas this year, and weather forecasts call for more mild temperatures from upper 30s to lower 50s with plenty of sunshine.
This year's unseasonable warm winter has caught many people off guard, as this same time in the past years has normally been spent under mounds of snow. However, not all see this as a good thing.
"There's no guarantee it will snow," said Ray Dessel, owner of Dessel S Snow Removal in Papillion, "So I don't bank on it."
Dessel has been running a small operations snow removal company for the past 15 years. The last two years, he had made an average of $7,000 each year in private snow removal contracts with local businesses.
"I'm usually pretty cheap because I'm a one-man operation," he said.
Dessel uses snow removal as a secondary source of income because of the unpredictability of winter weather. Still, he and his family use the income on important things. Currently the foundation for a garage sits next to his Papillion home, but construction cannot be complete until snow removal picks up.
As someone who has been in the business for some time, Dessel has noticed common snowy weather has been moved back in the season.
"It seems like snow is falling later — we get a pretty mild fall and then it could snow through March," he said. That being said, Dessel admits he is happy to have a hassle-wfree Christmas with no snow, but hopes the weather will pick up after New Year's.
While many private snow removal contractors may be hoping for a white winter yet, the cities of Papillion and La Vista stand to save from a mild winter.
"We haven't had to put out a whole lot of money to clear the streets," said Marty Leming, the director of public works for the city of Papillion.
Compared to this time last year, the two snow events this year has cost a little more than $38,000 on snow removal, which is a little more than half of the cost of the five events last year — and nearly $100,000 less than what was spent in 2009.
However, even the largest expenses — salt, sand and equipment — have been for good reason.
"We've already purchased 70 percent of our salt," Leming said, in addition to some new equipment.
Should the mild weather keep up, these supplies can be stored until the 2012-2013 winter season, allowing future savings. Despite having spent more than $13,000 on salt, the city hasn't reached half of the $28,000 spent in 2009.
"We're not spending extra money on fuel to fight these storms either," Leming said.
The City of Papillion has spent only $741.85 on diesel fuel to power the snowplows and trucks this month. To give some perspective, last year's Christmas Eve snow cost $870.14 in diesel fuel, and the Dec. 22 to 27 snow event of 2009 cost $5,203.05 in fuel alone.
Likewise, La Vista has also spent a little over half of the cost to fight last December's $67,143.28 in snow removal, and nearly a third of the cost of the 2009's $95,858.50.
Regardless of the savings or lack of earnings, both private contractors and cities know and understand that winter weather is unpredictable, and the figures provided only give a glimpse of the fiscal year costs and not the whole.
With the ever-present uncertainty about Midwestern winters, there will likely be other snow events within the fiscal year, which could match or be greater than the snows in previous fiscal years.
In the long run, while the cities hope to save some money left unspent on battling the snow and private contractors hope for some profit-earning snowstorms, it's impossible to know what winter still holds.
As it is, Easter could still always masquerade as a white Christmas.