Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Winter Weather

Posted to OGR on 11/14/2010

It has never ceased to amaze me how different winters are around the country. I grew up in Florida where winters are cool and sunny. I have worked in northern cities where winters are cloudy and downright cold. This past week, national newscasts were filled with stories and pictures about the first real blast of winter in the northern plains. That made me think about just how different winters are in parts of the country.

When I was traveling, it seemed to me that northern winters were pretty much sunless affairs. The skies clouded up in November and the sun would disappear until March except for a little peek every now and then. The range of temperatures between the highs and lows was usually very small, 5 or 10 degrees. Snow covered the ground and the world turned gray. I used to get on an airplane in South Carolina in bright sunshine and blue skies, and land in Detroit, Newark or Des Moines under heavy dark low clouds full of snow and ice. I felt badly for my team members who could not escape each weekend. I came to understand that “cabin fever” is a real winter malady that was held off for a short while by the holiday season. I still get that feeling when I see forecasts from Northern cities during the winter.

Winters in the South are very different. Skies are clear and blue, the sun shines brightly and the light is actinic across a landscape that still has some green in it. The farther south you go, the more green there is. The temperature range down here is much wider than up north. During the coldest months, the lows can be in the upper 20s and the highs in mid 50s in the Carolinas and down in Florida they range from the upper 30s to the mid 60s. We have learned to dress in layers. Snowfalls are rare, beautiful and for the most part, short lived. Which if fortunate, because there is little snow removal equipment in the deep south. When it snows, southern cities come to a standstill and a hush descends into the neighborhoods that must resemble the quiet of Victorian times. Last winter’s snow was perfect; it snowed from 10 pm until 7 am. We woke up to a glorious mantle of fluffy snow under a crystal blue sky that we got to enjoy until noon. By then, the sun had warmed up enough to melt down the snow in the streets and we could move around again. Mother Nature hit a home run with that snow. Oh MY!

Copyright 2010 Rick Wrigley

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