Monday, January 27, 2014

The winter of our laments

Winter in Iowa and Minnesota so far this year has been a little like a 40-car weather-related pileup along Interstate 80. Even though you're caught in backed up traffic and that's inconvenient you can't help being intensely curious and a little excited --- even though that seems vaguely unsuitable; anxious to take a closer look when you're allowed to drive through the vehicular carnage.

We didn't suffer much here in the south of Iowa during Sunday's big blow. It was 48 degrees and spitting a little rain at mid-afternoon --- as transportation officials in the south of Minnesota were getting ready to close Interstate 90 between Albert Lea and the South Dakota border because of blowing snow.

It was kind of exciting to call up the official U.S. weather map and see that big swath of bright orange blizzard warning cutting down through Iowa from Minnesota --- and stopping two counties north of here.

By early evening the wind had kicked in and was gusting up to 50 mph. And it was getting colder. It was only 36 but very windy when I went uptown about 5 and took these two photos near the courthouse. Nearly froze my hands off. Right now, it's 1 degree --- and still windy.

But we didn't have any snow and what little was left from earlier falls either had melted during the day or was firmly iced down. 

The situation was considerably different up north. I borrowed my friend Jan's photo of her house, taken at mid-afternoon Sunday in St. Ansgar --- up by the Minnesota line, a pretty little town sometimes referred to as Minnesota Lite.

I enjoyed the Facebook weather reports from the Twin Cities south through North Iowa, even joined in the online complaining --- even though there wasn't too much here to complain about, except the cold.

Sometimes it's a little hard to find something to talk about in Iowa during January. The holidays are over; spring is weeks away. But at least this year we've had the weather --- and ample opportunity to develop our laments.

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