Saturday, March 1, 2014

Winter of My Discontent


Ask anyone in Minnesota about global warming and you will probably get thrown into the nearest snowbank. My snowbanks are growing in breadth and height with each passing weekly snowstorm, towering over my frigid body as I toss snow on top of the mounds lining my driveway.

Today is March 1 but you would never guess that. At -4° with the windchill plunging to -23° your skin will freeze in 5-10 minutes if left uncovered. That's nothing though. The brutal blast of -45° air predicted to hit after midnight means that you may well freeze the instant you set foot outside. Sadly people are actually dying of the cold out here. I would like to know where on the earth this arctic air is coming from? It is a good 24° warmer at the North Pole in Alaska and 35° warmer in Antarctica. I blame our cousin to the North. -13° in Hudson Bay. Thank you Canada.

If you have ever read Laura Ingalls Wilder's book The Long Winter you will get a good taste of a truly brutal winter. Similar to 2014 except for the fact that we do have food and electricity and heat that we do not have to generate by weaving hay sticks to burn for warmth. Not quite as bad as Laura's winter back in 1872, but that was the worst on record. This winter is the worst since 1979. Maybe it is hitting me so hard because since 1979 I have been fortunate enough to live in climates where it is not so cold and snowy.

Here are the facts about the Minnesota winter of discontent:
  • 37 days of measurable snowfall.
  • 24 inch snow depth in my yard. This makes me wonder when in May the snow will melt enough for baseball games.
  • At least 1 inch of solid ice on my driveway and on the neighborhood streets, making driving far too thrilling and treacherous.
  • 46 days with temperature 0° or below 0°. Puerto Rico anyone?
  • Lake Superior nearly frozen sold (yes, I said Lake Superior the largest fresh water lake in the world).
  • Colder in Minnesota than on Mars. According to NASA the Rover on Mars recorded temperatures on Mars -13‚ to -24°. Minnesota's -50° January temps do make it colder here than the surface of Mars. That's comforting!
  • 30° below normal heading into March.
  • Ice caves have formed intricate icicle formations only seen in extreme cold (like this winter) at the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior. Winter weary Minnesotans and Wisconsinite have been flocking to visit these ice caves.
What is the easy answer? Escape of course. I have tried to no avail. Escaped to Portland, Oregon and was hit with a freak period of snowstorms, blizzard conditions, and an ice storm. I'm escaping to Washington, DC this week and what awaits me? A winter storm of course. Welcome to the winter of my discontent.

3 comments:

Marilyn Boock Schmidt said...

There's always Florida - it's been a warm, sunny five weeks here so far, the only state or province that did not receive snow this winter!

What a good decision we made, deciding to spend the winter here! Do work for the goal of retirement - it's great!

Keep warm,

Aunt Marilyn

Kristie H said...

You're always welcome in Austin Texas! Just don't bring the snow with you :) we've actually had 5 missed school days or late starts because of ice, very unusual for us. I re-read Laura's books a few years ago. Still love them!

Christianna said...

Retiring to Florida for the winter sounds fabulous! If only my parents would consider finding a spot down there for the winter.

And thanks for the Austin invite Kristie. I love Austin and may just have to take you up that!