This December was the wettest and the second warmest in Latvia for 88 years according to the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre. So what to do when there is no snow?

As a long time resident of the Southern Hemisphere now living in Latvia, I have a certain fascination with snow. And there is nothing I appreciate more than a traditional White Christmas, probably from watching countless American Christmas films featuring piles of snow, whilst it was 35º above 0 outside.

Indeed last winter was a joy for anyone who loves snow, but here we are, in the start of January with not a snowman, icicle or toboggan to be seen. The reason for this? Latvia has just had it’s second warmest December for 88 years (the warmest was in 2008), which I take it is when records began. And, just for our enjoyment, it has also been the wettest December on record, 175% of the annual rainfall fell in December alone. This makes 2010 the 7th hottest year in 88 years.

So what does this mean for those of us in Latvia? Well, on the plus side, no slipping over on icy footpaths, no shovelling snow from driveways and pavements, and come spring hopefully no huge lumps of ice plummeting from the roofs of 6 storey building. But also there are no snowball fights, no skiing adventures, no snowmen or sledding and everything just seems a lot darker. I think I am not alone in missing the snow.

As for visitors, there are many interesting things to do in Riga and Latvia even without snow. You can still go ice-skating in a few locations, other winter activities, such as bobsleighing on Sigulda’s Bobsleigh Track and the Husky Dog racing, run all year round, although not in the traditional manner. And the warmer weather means it’s not too cold to join a walking tour. We’ve even run a few bike tours in December, something that wasn’t possible the last two years. So take advantage of mother nature’s mood swings, and remember, there is no bad weather, only bad fashion.