The Cold Streak
In the midst of the cold spell affecting the upper Midwest last week, I mentioned to a few friends that it felt like the longest such streak since my second year at the University of Minnesota during grad school. Sure enough, the results are officially in, and it was indeed a streak to be reckoned with. According to NBC Chicago, in northern Illinois we experienced 12 daytime highs of lower than 20 degrees, the first time this has happened since 1936. It brought to mind the thrilling winters of my childhood that I love to boast about. Twenty years from now – if we’re lucky – we may recall fondly the winter of 2018, though from our lips the streak will likely be twice as long and twice as cold.
I’ve written previously about the winter of 1994, when Minneapolis experienced 22 straight days below freezing and seven straight days below 7 degrees. I only owned one car then – my ’85 Tercel – which meant only one battery could die (and even that was more than I could comfortably afford). Flash forward twenty-four years, and this unfortunate owner of four cars had to take two of them in for new batteries. The most recently purchased car just arrived at my daughter’s apartment in southern California, where I believe it’ll live a much happier life.
Four years ago Chicagoans experienced another cold winter – the third coldest on record – with temperatures reaching below zero on 26 days, breaking a hundred year-old record and keeping children home from school for several days. The biggest plus about this year’s cold streak is it occurred during the two weeks that kids had off from school, and as result there will be no days tacked on at the end of the school year. Then again, we all went a little stir crazy, and I believe the entire family is glad to be back on schedule this week.
There are a few (million) morons out there, who insist that because of these cold winters, it clearly means that global warming isn’t occurring, much like if your body experiences ninety percent third-degree burns, you can claim no harm done due to the other ten percent being perfectly healthy.
Would that it were so.
One need only go to yesterday's news to find evidence offsetting the recent cold streak here, as Sydney, Australia experienced a high of 117 degrees fahrenheit, its hottest day since 1939.