Thursday, January 15, 2009
My first year up here there was a Saturday in January 1985 where the morning temperature was -34. My old '71 Chrysler New Yorker had a block heater that I had plugged in -- low temperatures seldom sneak up on you -- and sure enough it popped on the first time. Several people ran out to get jumps of their cars. That night a colleague and I went to dinner at a nearby supper club outside town. Several other cars were there; all were left running, perhaps for hours. We didn't have remote starters back then. At Panera this morning I counted (!) 22 cars in the parking lot, 14 of which were running. I was 23rd and 15th while enjoying a bagel and a cup of coffee. (I know some legislator is now going to introduce a bill to prevent this in the name of
Exposing skin is the result of carelessness. I understand that children sometimes forget mittens. I would cancel school thinking of this. But college? Maybe we can use the cold to get rid of poorly prepared students -- it's quicker and cheaper than hiring composition or algebra instructors for sixteen weeks. Seriously, YOU LIVE IN MINNESOTA. If you do not know how to wear a ski mask, or a scarf, or a balaclava, then stay inside, move, or get Tom Coughlin Face.
Our campus meteorologist Bob Weisman wrote me a note that you have to go back to 1996 to a really cold January. (I wouldn't know -- I was in Ukraine that winter escaping the cold.)
The last really, really cold outbreak here was late January-early February 1996. That week, we had 6 straight lows colder than -30 and lows frequently below zero. We had one day with a high of -20, the coldest high in St. Cloud records. The record low for Minnesota (-60) was set on Feb. 2. This isn�t close to that.We might set a record tonight, Bob says, but only because the record for St. Cloud for this date is a relatively mild -31.
* Alternate title: Life's hard; wear a balaclava.