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Each Monday, Tommy Tomlinson delivers thoughtful commentary on an important topic in the news. Through these perspectives, he seeks to find common ground that leads to deeper understanding of complex issues and that helps people relate to what others are feeling, even if they don’t agree.

The dangers of Charlotte becoming a no-snow zone

Charlotte could make it through another winter without snow — extending a historical streak of snowless days. WFAE’s Tommy Tomlinson, in his "On My Mind commentary," wonders about more long-term changes.

My wife grew up in Wisconsin, so she’s as used to snow as I am to gnats. She and her mom still tell stories about going out on school mornings and their family of five shoveling snow for an hour, going inside for hot chocolate, and going right back out to shovel again. To her, a snow shovel is an essential household tool.

A couple of years ago, we bent ours somehow and got rid of it. We haven’t bought a new one. Haven’t needed to.

Charlotte is going through a snow drought unlike anything in the city’s recorded history. Official records for Charlotte go back to 1878, and there had never been a winter without snow in all 140-some years — until the winter of 2022-23. And unless we get snow in the next couple of weeks, we’re going to have two winters in a row of something that had never happened even once before.

The last day it snowed in Charlotte was Jan. 29, 2022 —more than 750 days ago. Here’s how long ago that was: The Carolina Panthers have nine wins since then! Also, five coaches.

Now, I know some of you who moved here from Cleveland or Buffalo would just as soon never see snow again. That’s part of the reason y’all came down here in the first place. And it’s also true that if you need a snow fix, you can drive a couple hours into the mountains most any winter and find yourself some powder.

But the lack of snow should be like the lack of noise in a horror movie. When it’s too quiet, something bad is about to happen.

You can stomp your foot over the causes of climate change all you want, but it seems silly at this point to deny that it’s happening. Our planet is getting warmer by the year, and the weather is more unpredictable and more volatile. That affects everything from crop yields to skin cancers to homeowners insurance. It can be a long-term threat to how we live on this planet.

The problem is that it only affects our lives a little at a time, and most of us don’t pay much attention to incremental change. It’s the classic story of the frog in the bathwater who doesn’t sense the temperature slowly rising until it’s cooked.

What that means, for the moment, is an unprecedented break in Charlotte’s weather history. It also means missing out on the quiet beauty of a snowy morning.

But if the heat keeps rising, we’re going to miss a lot more than that.

Tommy Tomlinson’s On My Mind column runs Mondays on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section below. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.

Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.