Thursday, February 18, 2010

Talking about the Weather

I know, it’s hard not to talk about it.
I was desultorily scraping away at my sidewalk the other day when a friend (who, by the way, was pulling his granddaughter to preschool on a sled) stopped to say, “I know you like this stuff, but haven’t you had about enough?”
It’s true. I like winter. It’s also true that I’ve had about enough.
Most people are happy enough to see a white Christmas, and January is still winter in just about everyone’s book. Come February, though, and we start thinking Spring. So we anxiously look to the weatherman and the Groundhog in hopes of an early one. But this year, mid-February has passed with virtually no sign of a new season, although the warmth of the sun grows stronger with each passing day.
But we’re not the only ones wishing for a quick climatic change.
Last Friday, 49 of the 50 United States reported at least a dusting of snow. Hawaii, not surprisingly, was the holdout, even on 13,800-foot Mauna Kea, where snow sometimes does appear, but otherwise, it was white stuff from Alabama to Wyoming. This country-wide snowy phenomenon would seem to be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. But apparently, nobody knows for sure.
According to a news source I read, the federal office that collects weather statistics doesn't keep track of that number and can't say whether it has ever happened. The office can't even say whether 49 out of 50 has ever taken place before.
This winter stuff is big news, for sure, and has even created a ripple of phone calls and emails among my family members, who are spread throughout the U.S.
In his column last Friday, SC associate editor Mike Berry touched on some of the theories and fallacies surrounding the concept of global warming and the weird weather that’s been taking place. I suspect part of the answer--and blame--lies with my brother, who I’ve been blaming ever since I was old enough to call my mom for help. He and my sister-in-law moved to Texas to be near a daughter and escape the winters in their home state of Michigan. In doing so, they apparently dragged winter along with them, thus manipulating and reversing a natural global warming/cooling cycle that has been in place since the first time sunlight touched water.
It’s no big surprise that son Colin is experiencing another big winter. He and his family live near Fargo, North Dakota, where, I believe, the season was invented. At this telling, they are in a normal state: bundled up and hunkering down as they await the annual thaw that occurs sometime around the Fourth of July, just in time for the annual Big Mosquito Festival. Winter in Fargo is so pervasive that, when we visited just before Christmas, the locals were all excited because the temperature got up to 20 degrees, a halcyon event that saw droves of coatless, hatless, last-minute shoppers streaming through mall parking lots as they enjoyed the balmy break.
My daughter-in-law from North Carolina called Friday night, all excited, because they had actual, measurable snow for the first time.  A native coastal Carolinian, she's never seen anything more than a dusting and, of course, it was all new to my grandsons, too. Saturday morning brought snowmen and "snow cream," a mixture of snow and condensed milk that is, I assume, only eaten by people who don’t own dogs.
By, Sunday night, though, she was wondering when it would all go away, That’s a hope that I’m sure is shared by son Patrick, who moved down there to get away from Illinois winters in the first place.  That sounds about right. Two days of snowballs and fun, then, back to spring on the beach, which is truly the normal NC order of things.
Funny thing is, though, while we think we’ve got too much of the white stuff, others wish they had a little more. Like the Winter Olympics, where warm weather, rain and fog have played havoc with events and scheduling, leaving competitors and organizers to pray for their share of the weather we’ve been receiving down here. There’s an old saying that goes like this: “Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it.”
I checked online this morning (Tuesday) to see if the weather had caused any more problems, and wasn't surprised to hear that it had. Sure enough, the super combined event in men’s alpine skiing had been delayed, maybe for a couple of days.
The reason?
Too much snow.

No comments:

Post a Comment