Friday, January 16, 2009

Minus-22 and rising

It was -22F and clear here just before sunrise and even a hyperactive furnace couldn't keep the cold from creeping toward my feet from the (covered) window a couple of feet away. The good news is we will top zero today (by as much as eight degrees); the not-so-good news, freezing rain of all things is in the forecast. Ya just can't win this year.

All things are relative, and when I saw it was only -7F while driving the block (yes, just a block) back to the office at 6 last evening I thought, "well, that's not bad." When I left work at 11 p.m. it was -9F and after driving around town for 15 minutes, -15F. I'd never think of driving if it weren't for the truck, which seems to benefit from regular exercise when it's this cold. So the drill three or four times a day is to start it (mild complaining), let it warm up for 10-15 minutes, then drive around at a gradually-accelerating pace to get the juices moving. Without the truck, boots, good socks, insulated pants, a heavy parka and sensible gloves keep me going for a reasonable length of time in just about any temperature. But the key is to not be without the truck.

The overnight low Wednesday-Thursday was -27F, one degree short of a record, so all schools in the region were cancelled Thursday and perhaps they are today as well (I haven't looked). That's intended (a) to keep smaller children inside and out of the cold when they'd usually be headed for school and (b) to avoid problems with diesel-powered school buses that sometimes react badly to extreme cold. No one wants a busload of kids stranded on a back road somewhere if the diesel gels.

So it's just another day on the prairie. When I looked at the Iowa forecast map this morning, there was a tiny spot of white (meaning more or less seasonal cold and otherwise reasonable weather expectations) down around Lamoni. The rest of the state still was covered with brown, light blue and grayish blue meaning winter-weather advisory and differing degrees of wind-chill watches and warnings. Maybe we'll dig our way out of this yet.

In the meantime, I've been spending too much time reading blogs written in warmer places. Australia's good this time of year since it's summer there and folks are complaining about the heat! Stay warm.

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