So far this winter, there have been deadly tornadoes in Florida, ravenous floods in California and a vicious ice storm in Canada.
It has taken the apparent cancellation of Nude Olympics, however, to convince most Princetonians that all is not right with the world.
In a year in which El Niño has received about as much press as Iraq, Nude Olympics – a tradition since 1974 – is now perilously close to becoming the latest casualty of that most famous of weather patterns.
"I think we're just going to have to wait and see, but I'm not that hopeful," said sophomore class president Jen Jennings '00 of a possible March snowfall.
Jennings said that alternative ways of holding the Olympics have been discussed, but no decisions have been made. "We're clearly not going to get a snow-making machine," Jennings said. "And I think that Cool Whip would be a little messy."
Jennings, however, said other ideas may still be considered. One alternative would be simply assigning a specific date and running – snow or no snow.
This weekend in Holder Courtyard, where nude revelers have been congregating annually for 24 years, scattered puddles served as reminders of the rain that has been falling in place of the snow needed to trigger the midnight romp.
Nearby, Courtney Weiner '01 and Ike Himowitz '01 were playing a game of catch Sunday and mulling over the prospect of having to wait another year to find out about what some consider the greatest Princeton tradition..
"El Niño is a bratty little kid," Weiner said of the shift in oceanic and atmospheric temperatures in the tropical Pacific that has wreaked meteorological havoc throughout the world.
Himowitz, however, said he was not overly anxious to find out what the Nude Olympics is like. "Get boozed up and run around naked. Sounds like the usual Saturday night," Himowitz said.
With temperatures in the low 50s and the sun shining brightly, yesterday's weather made it difficult to believe that it may yet snow. "As long as the weather stays like this and it doesn't start up with the icky rain again, I'll be happy," Weiner said. "Snow's nice, but spring's even nicer."
However, Himowitz foresaw problems for his class if the Nude Olympics was interrupted for a year. "I think it's going to be awfully crowded next year," Himowitz said, suggesting that two courtyards be used rather than one should the class of 2000 decide to join their younger counterparts for the run.
Lonn Waters '00, too, said not holding the Nude Olympics this year is problematic, but for different reasons.
"I'd like to see it happen this year since I have a pretty good location," Waters said, referring to his Holder Hall dorm that overlooks the quad and offers a particularly good vantage point for viewing the proceedings.
Although snow is nowhere to be found in the five-day forecast, Waters was hopeful. "We have another two to three weeks of possible snow time," Waters said. "We'll be missing out on Princeton tradition if it doesn't happen."