Cold weather? We’re outta here!
It happens like clockwork in the late fall each and every year.
Dozens of birds, seeing the leaves changing, the air getting colder and the days getting shorter, make their exodus, flying south or west to warmer climates.
And some drive, as well.
Custer County is home to an ever-growing number of snowbirds, a person who spends the summer months in Custer, but spends the winter in warmer climates, whether that is Florida, Arizona, Texas or California.
Most snowbirds do it for the same reason: they aren’t fans of winter or cold in general. While they love the weather Custer provides in the summer, they can do without it in the winter, particularly with a winter like the one Custer is experiencing now, where temperatures have routinely dipped below zero and snow has been plentiful.
Jerry and Kelly Wheeler are among those who spend their summers in Custer and travel to Arizona in the winter. The two have lived in Custer for seven years and began heading south for the winter about three years ago. Generally, they wait until after the holidays to make the move. This year, however, the move was expedited after Jerry spent hours digging out of the early October blizzard.
“I got done cleaning my driveway out and I said, ‘Let’s pack our bags and get out of here,’” he said. “And we did.”
Mike Mayer, co-owner of Mayer Plumbing, said the number of houses his company is called upon to winterize is rising all the time—from just five or six in the 1970s to 94 homes a year ago.
“When you start figuring the hours up, it’s quite a few,” he said. “And that’s with two people doing it.”
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