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Five Extreme Attempts to Stop or Cope With Winter Weather

With icy temperatures and blizzards continuing to bear down on parts of the country after a record-breaking winter of ice, snow and cold, exasperated residents across the Plains, Midwest and East are becoming desperate for signs of spring weather.

While different types of weather may appeal to different types of people, varying efforts to curb the effects of winter have been attempted or implemented over the years by the snow-weary.

Here are five extreme ways people have attempted to control or adapt to winter weather over the years.

Petitions

Annoyed by things such as shoveling sidewalks, bundling up against the cold and "forgetting what grass looks like," people across snowy states have created facetious petitions on whitehouse.gov and change.org demanding that winter cease and desist until next year.

One man, Adam Whitaker, created a website called StopTheSnow.org featuring a petition to end winter with more than 3,000 signatures.

Though multiple petitions have gathered hundreds of signatures, none have reached a volume that would force any sort of "official" response. However, most are vaguely worded simply to tell winter to get out, rather than requesting any sort of serious action be taken. Unless you believe, as a StopTheSnow commenter named Darrell stated, "Some of you are laughing about this. But if we make enough hot air about this then maybe it will be too warm to snow!"

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Building a Dome

By some accounts, this plan may have started as a joke, but in the 1970s, the town of Winooski, Vt., was in talks to build a dome over part of the city to conserve energy.

The area receives an average of 81.4 inches of snow each year, and the typical highs for a winter season range from 33F in December to 40F in March. With average February lows plunging to 12F and January typically seeing 10F or lower, the town was looking for solutions in a decade marked by energy crisis.

The idea was that a square-mile dome could potential save up to 90 percent of energy usage. Plans for the dome garnered a good deal of attention in the media and political offices around the world. Critics opposed the precedent it would set, or the practicality of having a large dome covering a section of a town. Plans for the dome were eventually submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for funding support, but the request was ultimately turned down.

Reflecting the Sun with Mirrors

In far-northern locations such as Alaska and Scandinavia, the decreased daylight hours of winter are exceptionally limited. The town of Rjukan, Norway, seeking a solution to their nearly six months of winter shadow, placed mirrors atop the nearby mountains to reflect sunshine down into their village.

Mirrors atop the mountains around Rjukan. (Flickr/Bilfinger)

Because of Rjukan's location in the valley, the sun was unable to reach the residents in the winter. When they craved sunlight, they would go to the mountain tops to stand in the light. With the 17-square foot mirrors in place, people are able to stand in areas of light without making the mountaintop trek.

On April 5, Rjukan will celebrate the return of sunshine falling naturally into the town with their annual SolFest.

Geoengineering

In 2009, government officials in Russia attempted to use the controversial process of cloud seeding to prevent significant snowfalls from occurring in Moscow. The plan, which would cost about $6 million, was to spray chemicals in the air from November to March to prevent clouds from dumping large amounts of snow over the city, pushing it to surrounding neighborhoods instead.

It's a process that has been used in Russia to create favorable weather conditions for state holidays. The season-long attempt to prevent major snowfalls in the country's capitol did not come to fruition, but cloud seeding to stave off precipitation for specific events has taken place since.

Dual Residency

Though the practice of living in a snow-prone climate for summer months and a warmer climate for winter months is common across multiple continents, the process of dual residency can be expensive and complicated.

"Snow birds," as they are often called, may rent one or both of their residences, but many will own property in different locations to get their favored type of weather year round. The steps it takes, however, to enjoy the cooler summers of Maine and the warmer winters of Florida, can complicate a person's taxes, delivery of mail or running of utilities.

MarketWatch warns that hidden costs, such as different costs of living, home maintenance and travel, can add up. Some winter vacationers aim to rent out their homes in their off months, but for many that source of extra income is not always a guarantee each year. With double the property taxes, double the homeowner's insurance and double the furnishings, the cost of avoiding icy winters may add to more than expected.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Samantha-Rae Tuthill at SamanthaRae.Tuthill@accuweather.com, follow her on Twitter @Accu_Sam or Google+. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.