Thursday, January 19, 2012

Below Zero!

What a strange winter we’ve had in Minnesota! It is January 18 and, until last night, we’ve not had any below zero temperatures this winter.
by Charlie Leck

Last night the temperatures dipped down to 12 below zero! We’ve had an amazingly mild winter.

Ten days ago it got up to 55 degrees here on one afternoon and guys were out hitting golf balls. There hasn’t been even an inch of snow this winter. It was strange feeling the temperature drop last night after such a mild start to the winter. Below zero! It’s certainly been a long time coming.

Does it mean we’ll have a short winter this year? Or will winter come and hang around all through April (as it has done a time or two in the 50 years I’ve lived here)? Or will spring come in mid-March and give us a wonderful warm season this year? Ah, the mysteries of Minnesota weather! We all love weather madness up here. You betcha!

One thing certain is that we need some moisture. It was a terribly dry late summer and autumn. We are officially in drought conditions.

Fascination with the weather
There is no state in the union whose residents are more fascinated with weather. In most major cities the TV weather report is about a minute or two in length. Here it might go on for 8 or 9 minutes. Most of the local stations spend the bulk of their on-air talent budget on the weatherman (or woman, as the case may be).

Years ago a local writer, Steve Thayer, wrote a magnificent murder mystery called The Weatherman.* It was a really well written novel and it had national success (and phenomenal Minnesota sales). I remember that one part of the story described the average Minnesotan’s absolute fascination with the evening weather report. Reviews on the book were mixed, but I thought it was a good story very well written. I have a copy of that book in my library and I’d certainly be willing to share it with eager readers.

I guess it’s understandable that the most used app on my iPhone is the weather app. Next comes the stocks app (the market got up to 12,579 yesterday – up 96.88 for the day). I think we’re talking economic recovery here.

About two weeks ago, the northern half of Florida was experiencing very damaging below freezing temperatures. On the same day the temperatures here in the Minneapolis area reached 47 degrees.

Below Zero would be a wonderful title for a short story. Let me think about that.

*Thayer, Steve: The Weatherman [1995, Signet, New York]

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