By Barry Zander
With temperatures in the Southern Belt of America rising rapidly, the effect on snowbirds is already a fact. It’s a sign of lifestyle changes for thousands of RV owners, as well as businesses that rely on the migration of RVers for survival. According to a study at the University of California in Irvine, we can expect cataclysmic economic consequences for Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, and other snowbird-favorite states in the South.
“Who wants to park and play golf in 120-degree weather?” asks an 18-year snowbird traveler from Minnesota. “I’m already looking for an in-between spot. I’m ready to abandon our annual campground in Arizona for a livable environment.”
If you drive cross-country in the fall, you’re well aware of the stream of motorhomes and fifth wheels on the roads heading south, buying fuel, stopping off in RV parks and adding to the financial lifeblood of businesses relying on the “carriage-trade” economy. And that doubles in spring when snowbirds return home.
Cindy Yañez, a researcher at the University of California in Irvine, published an article this month in the Climatic Change journal that forecasts significant changes in the economy of southern tier states, places where the local survival depends on snowbirds from Canada and Washington state to New England for survival.
“Weather and climate are important considerations for tourists in selecting their destinations, and climate change may impact these decisions, with implications for economic revenue in tourism-dependent locations,” according to a scholarly paper written by a team of researchers led by graduate student Yañez of UCI. The paper gathered information from numerous other sources, but the findings are obvious to snowbirds.
“… [G]lobal warming may adversely impact the snowbird season and other tourist attractions through rising temperatures. We analyzed how increasing temperatures are likely to impact three key components of the tourism industry in the region: climate in the winter snowbird season, visitation at an outdoor tourist attraction, and the likelihood of extreme heat at an annual festival…
“Our analysis predicts a shortened snowbird season, which we define as the time of year with daily maximum temperatures below a threshold of 30° C [86° F], under two future climate scenarios and time periods.”
In the analysis of economic consequences, the paper goes on to say, “We also predict an increased likelihood of extreme heat stress during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.”
What does that mean for snowbirds? Maybe lower prices or more availability at prime spots. Maybe reduced value for traditionally exclusive snowbird-owned parking spaces. Who knows?
Please vote in the poll below and tell us if you’ll still travel if the temperatures continue to rise in snowbird destinations.