Posted by: chlost | January 28, 2012

Wimpy. Winter.

The area where I live is known for its extreme weather. The temperatures can vary over the course of a year from -30 F to 100 F. Sometimes it will be a little more in either direction. Usually not in the same week.

We have the type of summers where the humidity can be stifling. When exiting an air-conditioned building, it can feel like a brick wall hitting you in the face. A common refrain in mid-August is “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. This is when the temperature is 85 F and the humidity is 99%.

When flying in from the west, the borders of our state are identifiable by the green- the thickness of the air visible, it is nearly palpable. Our state is dotted by thousands of lakes, many of which are known as “prairie potholes”-shallow reservoirs of condensed moisture which have been deposited onto the landscape.  To add to the mix, we have so many mosquitoes that they are often called the state bird. The state is really just a big swamp.

The winters in this place rival those of the sub-arctic. Natives can tell the temperature within just a few degrees by the sound of the snow as they walk to the mailbox. In order to traverse the 100 feet or so to said mailbox, it is recommended that the citizens dress in parka, hat, gloves, and felt-lined snow boots, along with a scarf wrapped tightly across the face.

Many of the folks here, however, come from tough Scandinavian stock. My estimate would be that 75% of  adults wear no boots, hat, gloves or scarves. Many do not even wear parkas. We are not fazed by the cold. We laugh at the waist-level snow. We’re tough! It’s just a short walk!

In fact, we celebrate winter here. We might as well. It beats the wailing and flailing of fists from inside the winter prisons of our homes.

Our capital city celebrates with a “Winter Carnival” , replete with outdoor parades, activities, royalty, and many outdoor competitions. The theory is that “if you’re gonna live here in the winter, ya might as well have some fun!”

There are many winter activities enjoyed by those who live here. Snowmobiling, skiing (downhill and cross-country), hockey (indoor as well as outdoor), hard-water fishing (often referred to as ice fishing by the uninitiated) are all favorites. Many of these activities are accompanied by prodigious amounts of alcohol.

But I hate winter. I hate the cold. I hate the snow. I hate the darkness. At the end of December, it gets dark by 4:30 pm. The sun does not rise until approximately 7:30 am.

I am a wimp.

This year, however, we are enjoying a wimpy winter. Just my kind!

Our yard is covered by only six inches of snow right now. Normally, our driveway would be a pathway through at least 20 inches.  Often, in the area where the snow has a tendency to drift, the driveway has at least 3 feet of snow on either side. Sort of like the parting of the sea, but with frozen water.

There have been only a few very cold days, with the daytime temperatures averaging just above freezing F rather than just above zero F.

The daylight now continues until nearly 5 pm!

The local residents are divided….one side is depressed that the winter has been so mild. There are businesses which are dependent on a “normal” winter, and those who thrive in this deep-freeze. The other (sane) side is celebrating!

Each day, we are just a little closer to April.

If winter were like this every year, I might not hate it so much.



  1. I’m with you! This has been the best winter in a long time. People are saying, “We’re going to have to pay for this…” I say, “We already paid!” The Minnesota River is not going to flood this spring! Alright! I have lived in Minnesota my entire life (55+) and this is the best winter I can remember.

    • Yes….no flooding is good, from my view! I have lived here about that long as well. I have memories of huge drifts, up to the rooflines some years. I prefer this.

  2. I’m really glad you aren’t inundated with snow this year. Sadly, out here in Southern California it appears we will have no winter at all … it was over 70F here today (again) and it looks like our early spring will continue. sigh

    • I think “over 70” sounds heavenly. I could live there through the winter-no problem.

  3. I am of the insane and moan about the lack of snow. Just me and one lone weather man have any hope of a decent snow this year.. The thing that scares me the most is that if this is winter, “what will summer be like?” Last summer we had 30 consecutive days over 100. Will it be worse this year?

    • You are right, I wonder about the summer. We had a pretty mild summer last year, as well. Not too many “over 100” days, but it was pretty dry. It does make me wonder what the future holds. I heard that the growing season charts have had to be adjusted due to the changes in the weather patterns.

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