"If you think about plants and animals being kind of biologic thermometers, they are indicating a very early spring," Weltzin said. "That's a problem."
This could mean less fruit available this year, Weltzin said. In New York, it could weaken the grapes used to make wine, added Cornell University horticulturalist David W. Wolfe.
But it is getting people outside more often.
In the heart of the snow belt, Holden Arboretum saw a 32 percent jump in December attendance and a 20 percent jump in January visits. Over the two months about 4,200 people visited the site in Kirtland, Ohio, outside Cleveland, that features gardens, woodlands and trails.
Along Lake Erie near Toledo, Ohio, a ferry service that carries visitors to islands was beginning winter routes Wednesday for the first time in six years.
"We've just had a remarkable run of unusual winters in the past six years globally," said Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Mich. "I have to say that winter hasn't really hit yet. Certainly not where I live."
JoAnne Viviano and Doug Whiteman contributed to this report from Columbus, Ohio.
The Global Snow Lab: http://bit.ly/wFuAtV
National Weather Service map showing snow cover: http://t.co/0HIAPU1j
Weather service map showing warm temperatures around the nation: http://t.co/rpNNt7Sp