Monday, January 24, 2011

Sub-Zero days

It was cold here this morning; bone shatteringly cold.  The indoor/outdoor thermometer read minus 13 below zero, but my Droid phone read minus 24 degrees below zero for our village.  I'm inclined to believe my Droid since the area around us for a 50 mile radius had minus 25 to minus 30 readings.

We've suspected in the past that the south east presentation of our house, situated midway down the steep slope to the bay, was a micro climate; we get frost last compared to all other places in the village and the temp in winter is usually warmer than other homes nearby.  Not that minus 13 is warm, but 10 degrees above the neighbors.

Anyway, for all that, we had one night of subzero temps.  Schools were closed so the walkers wouldn't be exposed to these temps, and the buses with diesel engines were not running normally.  Tonight into tomorrow is forcast to be increasingly milder with he addition of a few inches of snow.

Why, in an area tauted for it's winter hardships and the hardiness of it's residents, does a frigid airmass such as this one, lasting one day, make headlines all the way up to the national news?  Well, because mild winters have become the norm over the past 30+ years in this part of the country.  If you are of a certain age and remember the winters of the 20s and 30s, and the mid 60s through the mid 70s, you will remember winters where for 2 weeks straight in January the thermometer never got above 0 during the day and routinely dropped to 20 and 30 below at night.  The river froze solidfor its entire 1 mile width and folks routinely walked and even drove cars across the river between Morristown, NY and Brockville, Ontario, Canada.  In the 20s and 30s there was a daily mail run between these two communities, and a road marked out for walkers.

I remember when in 1975 we moved to the village and the subzero temps were so frigid and lasted so long that the water main on Morris street froze up and the year before I ran for mayor half of Main Street's water main froze.  Septic systems failed due to leach fields freezing.  I was raising chickens and rabbits in an unheated garage without running water and it was imperative for me to change the water containers, for the animals, because they froze so quickly.  It was routine to change the waterers 3 to 4 times a day or more.

The schools didn't close, the buses ran and winter festivals with broom ball on the bay were anticipated recreation activities every February as well as fishing derbies.  Pick-up ice hockey games, on the bay,  were as common as pick-up baseball games in the park in the summer.   There were sleigh rides on real snow with real horse drawn sleighs and hot chocolate in old one room school houses heated with a pot bellied wood stove.  Yes that was in the 1970s.  We weren't cowed by the weather but rather found ways to make it our own and enjoy it.  There was a, some would say perverse, pride in facing the  hardships of winter and prevailing over them if not outright embracing them.

Who among us, who survived Ice Storm '98,  think one day of suzero weather is a major news story.

But for the last 35 years, winters, overall, here have become milder and milder and we've become soft and so when we get one day of subzero temps it takes on the news worthiness of a weather catastrophe.

Get over it!

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Anonymous jewel said...

Ahh, but we are older and wiser now and know that it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Why endure such hardships just for bragging rights, lets join the rest of the State and whine til we get assistance. We have been out in the cold for too long.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

I don't think we've ever closed anything down here for sub zero temps. Hmmm. But we get them WAY too often for my taste here in Iowa,so maybe we just get used to them.

4:05 PM  

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