How do they manage?

Okay… I am watching the news and the East Coast newsies are worked up about how cold it is there, as if the temperatures on the East Coast are somehow… I don’t know… news.  Oh… it’s so very cold.  Brrr… it might get down to 22F in New York!  Imagine!  Yesterday it got down to 20!  It was 40 degrees in Florida!  Oh my!

How do they manage?

It was -28F in International Falls, MN yesterday. 

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  1. catholicmidwest says:

    Crispy, crunchy. Michigan is cold, but that’s colder. Glad I’m not there!

  2. Nan says:

    I would love it if it got up to 22F in Minneapolis!

  3. Jaybirdnbham says:

    I am so very thankful to live in the South, where low temps that fall below 20 degrees are enough of a rarity to make the news.

    Tell you what, Father: next time you have a summertime month of highs in the upper 90s with near 100% humidity, let me know how you feel about it and I might offer you some sympathy. :-) In the meantime, I am FREEZING here in Alabama tonight!

  4. Ana says:

    As a southern on the east coast, I welcome cold snaps that actually require wearing a warm winter coat, but this area, as with most of the south, is not prepared for weather this cold. Our heating systems are not designed to handle extremely cold weather and many do not have adequate clothing for freezing weather. This is an area where you can drive through well to do neighborhoods and plants are covers with towels on the nights it might freeze.

    Once a northerner has to deal with humid, hot weather without adequate clothing or air conditioning then they might understand where we’re coming from.

  5. catholicmidwest says:


    We get 90 degree weather with near 100% humidity quite often in Michigan–in the summer. And then we get below zero in the winter.

    But winter is longer. Arrgh.

  6. catholicmidwest says:

    The only thing we don’t get is Mexico-style heat–> greater than 100F for days at a time and desert parching dry. We sometimes go over 100F, but not often.

    Humidity is often high here though, because we have a lot of inland lakes and reservoirs in the heat, and of course, we’re stuck right in the middle of the Great Lakes.

  7. JonM says:

    Yes Father, I know (well, understand at least) what you mean!

    It is kind of like how in NC, which is my current residence, one would not know the difference between a vocanic erruption and a few inches of snow. As a NJ’er I kind of chuckle, but always remember how when we would get a good 6-10 inches we shut down amid grins from those, like you, from the true north.

    Of course there are legitimate issues of snow and ice removal. It is simply cheaper to shut down work for a day than invest in a fleet of plows given the statistics of snowfall.

    On the issue of the chilly weather, I think the Mid-Atlanic is being a camera ham. It is chilly, but it’s nothing they can’t handle. It is more of an issue in the Southeast for orange growers and older homes that have shakey heating systems.

    I hope you get some snow up there so the cold looks nice! I’m sure glad I threw a few pennies in the bucket for your birds, too!

  8. Felicitas says:

    I will nod in agreement with Ana’s post. As a native of Atlanta, I can say that we’re expert at dealing with long, extremely hot and extremely humid seasons that are known to kill thousands in usually cooler climates (such as western Europe). We’re not known for long, cold winters and lots of snow, and our houses aren’t built to deal with those extremes efficiently. Our cities don’t have much in the way of methods to deal with ice and snow, and it’s nearly impossible to find a decent pair of snow pants around here without shelling out a fortune at one of the few ski shops. All that said, I personally prefer cold weather to hot and I am hoping the currently forecasted “snowstorm” of 2-3 inches really happens later this week.

  9. Joannes says:

    Even though the big news is not the temperature but the wind chill, I happen to agree, Father, that it hasn’t been that cold for us here in NY yet. But of course we are much less used to these temperatures than you hardier folk in Minnesota.

  10. Tina in Ashburn says:

    I think I wouldn’t like it THAT cold Father as you have it.

    Yup its cold here in N. Virginia and its out of the ordinary. I appreciate this kind of cold as it kills bugs, invasive warm-climate plants and fungi that don’t belong here.

    Growing up here, it was colder and much more snowy. But they have eradicated over 80% of the green cover since i was little. So there is nothing to hold onto moisture.

  11. An American Mother says:

    Speaking as a native Atlantan, it used to get somewhat colder hereabouts. The ‘heat bubble’ over a major city like Atlanta (it was really just a small town when I was a child) keeps a lot of the winter precip away. But a major event (like SnowJam ’83, the Blizzard of ’92, or the current cold snap) just tanks right over that effect.

    The problem is that it is simply not cost effective to make provision for long term serious cold here. Houses are not properly insulated, oriented to the south, or heated well enough to withstand a week of temps below 15, like we’re going through right now. Pipes are not insulated (and the fool contractors around here put them on outside walls). The cities and counties have no plows, no sand trucks, and no provision for keeping even main trunk water and sewer lines from freezing. People don’t have adequate cold weather clothing (except those of us who do dog training and are out in it for hours at a time – I’m very comfy in my Sorel boots, insulated bib overalls, fur lined gloves, ushanka hat and camo jacket.)

    What we really used to have (and don’t have as much any more) were the ice storms. They are far worse than snow, because they cause widespread power outages that last for weeks at a time (ice on the lines and fallen trees, especially the longleaf pine that’s very common here).

    But I’ve worked summers in the Sand Hills of Nebraska and St. Albans, Vermont — and never encountered the consistent 100 degree temps AND 100% humidity for weeks at a time that we get on a regular basis in the South. There’s a REASON that the South never prospered until Mr. Carrier’s invention caught on.

  12. Mary Kay says:

    For all you folks not used this, the key to dressing for colder weather is layers, layers, layers. Then a hat for your head.

    I’d rather deal with the cold than the heat and humidity of summer.

  13. mrsmontoya says:

    Father, I hope you will again post the weather conditions or temperature on the Z-cam as you did last winter.

  14. Girgadis says:

    If you think the cold forecasts are bad, you should hear them when snow of any kind is predicted. It’s embarassing.

  15. An American Mother says:

    Girgadis, it IS embarassing!

    I went to school in New Jersey, so a little snow does not worry me. We’re adequately prepared with food in the pantry, a good gas powered generator, a Coleman stove, and a 4WD truck. (Although the Yankees who’ve moved down here often come to grief when they forget that our snow usually has a substrate of ice.) We usually take the sleds over to the Chastain Park golf course (best sledding hill in town).

    Most of the panic is due to the TV and radio news trying to up their ratings with sensational “Blizzard Coverage” for a dusting of snow. The lemmings immediately panic, take in their washing, burn their ration books, and buy out all the bread, milk and toilet paper in Atlanta. I’ve never understood that . . . do they make bread soup and then sit in the john?

    I hope we DO get some snow later this week. My daughter will be back from visiting her gentleman friend in NC, and my two younger Labs have never seen snow! (there is something magical about the wonderment of a young Labrador Retriever encountering snow for the first time. Pure joy.)

  16. An American Mother says:

    Mary Kay, don’t forget a good pair of gloves, preferably with liners. I found out the hard way two weeks ago that if you’re going to be throwing mallards for retrievers in a cold rain, they’d better be WATERPROOF gloves, too.

    As long as my feet, my hands, and my ears are warm, the rest of me is fine.

  17. ghp95134 says:

    Yup …. this here “global warming” trend sure is interesting to observe.

  18. jroberts says:

    As a Floridian, I understand the “big deal” about the freezing weather. If for no other reason agriculture suffers severely during times like these (i.e. citrus). You guys are used to it and plant crops accordingly. We pray that our crops will not get frozen to death. Kyrie eleison!

  19. Denis Crnkovic says:

    I don’t mean to be contrary, but the low yeasterday in International Falls was minus 37F (not the balmy minus 28 reported). Just to give some perspective to this number, the record low for Jan. 3rd there is minus 39. So, they were flirting with a record. However, the more astounding fact is that the record high is +37F. That’s right, the hottest it has ever been in International Falls on January 3rd is thirty-seven degrees. For those who think that the thirties are cold, well…

    I live on the opposite, southern side of the state. Our thermometer has not registered above zero yet this year. We have set two cold records in a row (-27 and -26). Yet — and this is Father’s point, I think — although the cold weather is news, this type of weather is not unusual. Nor is twenty degrees at all unusual for NYC or Philly, for that matter. It is winter after all and thank God we have seasons so we don’t have to bake in the sun all year round. I imagine that San Diego weather could be a bit like an Amish hymn sing. (Now I’m in trouble).

  20. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    Hey! 40 is cold in a place like Florida, where most stores don’t bother carrying clothing that extends past the elbows or knees.

  21. isabella says:

    This is pretty funny from Alaska. Not sure how far below zero we’ve gotten – think it’s been a fairly warm winter. I was in Texas once when they closed San Antonio for maybe 1/4 inch of snow. I was driving on the freeway almost alone – it was like the end of the world.

  22. catholicmidwest says:

    Yup, ghp, we have global warming for sure. Can’t you tell??

    Isabella, oooh, you took your life in your hands that day. You don’t wanna drive in Texas when there’s snow on the road. They don’t know what to do with it there and slide all over the place.

  23. Mitchell NY says:

    Father, in Forest Hills NY this morning it was 17 degrees in the car when I got in and the dash was flashing WARNING, ICY, ICY….And the windchill was 11….All I can say is we never get used to it..We do pray a little more !

  24. Denis: the low yesterday in International Falls was minus 37F

    I stand corrected!

  25. danidunn says:

    What about us poor people in California? It was only 74 in San Diego :-(

  26. bookworm says:

    Well, guess I can’t complain as it got up to a balmy 13 degrees ABOVE zero in central Illinois today.

    As far back as I can remember, TV weather persons have frequently named International Falls as “coldest spot in the lower 48 states” on any given winter day; other frequent contenders for that title are Cut Bank, Montana; Alamosa, Colorado; and Caribou, Maine.

  27. Jack Hughes says:

    For those of us who deal in centegrade what does -37f translate as?

  28. Joseph says:

    Before Christmas the old record established in 1936 was broken by -4 degrees Celsius at the Edmonton International airport. The official measured low was -46.5 Celsius, which translates into -51.7 Fahrenheit.

  29. Ellen says:

    We are due to get down to single digits in Kentucky for the weekend and it hasn’t been over freezing for several days. I don’t mind the cold all that much as long as the wind is calm, but extreme cold and wind just kill me.

    The church where I go keeps the thermostat way down and the priests all wear jackets and sweaters.

  30. The Egyptian says:

    My sister was visiting in-laws in North Carolina several years ago, over night and into the next day they had a freak sleet freezing rain light snow event,closed everything for 2 days, the salt truck that came by was an old pickup truck going backwards loaded with sand and two guys on the back with shovels. it was enough to make a native northern Ohioan like my sister howl with laughter

  31. Joan M says:

    And here in Trinidad it is probably going to be our usual 33c – at 7:11 am the temperature on my desk clock is 30c (I do not have air conditioning!).

    At least it is dry season, so the humidity is less. This Irish body was never meant for this climate!

    If the temperature goes down to 20c (at night, probably in February) people complain about the cold!!! Some even bring out blankets!!

  32. jaykay says:

    “This Irish body was never meant for this climate!”

    Well, Joan M, back over here in actual Ireland it’s currently just at 0 celsius/32 Fahrenheit (on the outside yard theremometer)where I live but with a cutting east wind that makes it seem a lot colder. It’s been down to -10 C at nights for days now: the longest cold spell for 30 years or something. I was amused reading the comments from people in the south of the US, because we have exactly the same phenomenon over here in the British Isles.

    Despite being on the same latitude as Newfoundland, because of the warm influence of the Gulf Stream we rarely get snow or real cold, and when it does come it leaves the entire country competely unprepared. The forecast is that it may last for another whole 5 days – oh the novelty! – before reverting to the normal winter pattern of incessant rain (non-frozen variety). Already the recriminations are flying about not enough funds to grit roads, water pipes bursting etc etc

    Not that even -10C is REAL cold, of course ;)

  33. GOR says:

    Yes, American Mother, I recall one ice storm in Atlanta (early 80s) when I was there for a conference. Everything ground to a halt. Ice-covered cars were abandoned mid-block or on sidewalks and people slept in the hotel lobby (the hotel restaurant even ran out of food…!). Slithering our way from the conference center to our hotel wasn’t much fun (dress shoes don’t get much traction on ice!).

    Being from Wisconsin, we could have been better prepared had we known what was coming. We were condescendingly amused at the TV coverage there back then. However, today it is the same here in the ‘frozen north’. With just a chance of a ‘dusting’ the networks ‘Storm Team Coverage’ shifts into high gear, with constant updates on the impending catastrophe. It’s hard to recall that 30 years ago nothing less than 15” would evoke a raised eyebrow hereabouts. And that was before any of us had a 4×4… We have gone soft!

  34. chironomo says:

    It got below 36 last night…a once-every-few-years event here in Southern Florida.

    If the recorded temperatures were a degree or two ABOVE the ten year average, there would be I-reports and updates every half hour on every network about the obvious effects of global warming. As it is, temperatures across the country that are 10, 15, 20 and even 30 degrees below that average are just described as “cold”… no mention about how this is possible on a warming planet…

  35. The Egyptian says:

    I agree GOR, we have gone loony, but the 24/7 news cycle has to be fed, look at New Orleans, they got hit just as bad 100 years or so ago, the picked up shovels and got to it, the army SOLD the city used tents, SOLD THEM and expected payment, the country read about it in the papers days later, now look at us. The blizzard of 78 will forever haunt me, I pray almost daily all winter to not experience another on, at least out here on the farm

  36. chironomo says:


    Where were you for the ’78 storm? I was in rural Massachussetts where we went without power or roads for nearly 3 weeks. It was quite the life-changing event. I got good at splitting wood and cross-country skiing though!

  37. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Mr Jack Hughes: Minus 37 Fahrenheit translates as minus 34.6 Celsius. The two thermometers meet at minus 40. Either way, it’s not t-shirt and shorts weather.
    Egyptian and chironomo: The blizzard of 78 was indeed a challenge, even in new Haven where our apartment went without heat for a number of days and the whole building had to pool food resources. Still, I dread the ice storms more than the snow storms.

  38. David D. says:

    In defense of NYCers, they probably spend more time walking and less time in autos than in most parts of the country. 10 minutes walking to the corner store in 20 degree weather is worse than 15 minutes driving to 7/11 even if it is 0 degrees outside.

  39. frleo says:

    You might take note of the part of the country with the highest variance in temperatures. :)

    Sometime people forget that the northern parts of the US have some pretty high temps. The South can be a lot colder than they are right now.

  40. TNCath says:

    Down in the so-called “sunny South,” we are about to get SNOW Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The low on Thursday is supposed to be 8 degrees, unheard of for these parts.

  41. irishgirl says:

    It was freezing in upstate NY yesterday, with a strong wind and snow flurries.

    Today I’m wearing an English snood on my head, with three pairs of socks on my feet.

    Oh, how I hate winter…and I’ve lived here all my life!

    But as my late mother always told me, ‘This too shall pass’…that gives me hope!

  42. Mary Kay says:

    American Mother, oh, you mean outdoors.

    On a serious note, yes, you’re right, ditto on waterproof. I stopped at layers and hat because I didn’t want to go into my entire “dressing for the weather” spiel and have everyone’s eyes glaze over :)

  43. The Egyptian says:

    Oh that is an invite to a long story, blizzard of 78, just grad high school spring 1977, started to dairy farm with Dad full time, west central Ohio, started to rain that evening turned to freezing rain then snow blowing straight across snowed 2 days and one night. power went out first day, we hooked up an alternator to one of our tractors to power the farm, it burned up 14 hours later, got out our smallest gas tractor and hooked it up, barely enough power to do the milking and feeding, got up every 4 hours to carry gas to the tractor, Dad and I held hands so we didn’t lose each other. Carburetor on that tractor froze up after 10 hours, Dad and I removed it in the blizzard and thawed it out on a camp stove I had in the house and reinstalled it, wrapped the tractor in tarps to keep the engine warm. In the mean time the power surge from the alternator burned the furnace controls out so we had to take turns in the basement jamming the contacts in with a screw driver, didn’t know the boiler pressure gauge was off, didn’t want to blow up the boiler, couldn’t get the house over 50 degrees inside. we fed our entire supply of dry baled hay because all of our silage equipment was frozen with the preceding freezing rain and then buried under 8 to 14 ft drifts. The snow blew so hard one knot hole in the barn wall, approximately 1and a half inch in dia, had a drift eight ft long and six feet high in front of it, cattle trapped in pens, not hurt but only had a little space to lay way in back. at one point Dad and I just sat at the kitchen table and cried, we prayed the rosary more that once, used to smoke at that time, ran out after the second day. we milked the cows and dumped the milk for 3 days, the neighbor and I spent six hours, he on one end and me on the other, digging out the drift in front of our house just to get the milk truck through, the drift just missed the power lines it was so high, was only maybe eight inches deep in the fields but the drifts were unreal in the barn yards, the last of the snow piles did not leave till end of April. I do not EVER what to go through that again.

  44. The Egyptian says:

    excuse me, snow piles did not leave till end of MAY not April,

  45. An American Mother says:

    Mary Kay — I found my neoprene waterproof kayaking gloves as soon as I got home, and put them in my retriever training bag. My snowboarding gloves don’t work well — too thick so I can’t feel what I’m doing (wet mallards are slippery little rascals!)

    GOR, that doesn’t sound like an ice storm – that sounds like Snowjam ’82! That was the only time that we’ve had mass abandonment of cars!

    I was a clerk for the U.S. District Court at the time, and we were listening to the radio saying that they already had 8 inches of snow in Birmingham and it was headed our way. Our judge let us go, but I was meeting my husband and a friend to have dinner and go to the Shot Show at the Omni, so I stayed put. By the time we came out of the Shot Show, everybody had already abandoned their cars and settled in for the night, so the roads were deserted. We swept 6-8″ of snow off our little 2002 tii and drove home. We still had snow tires on that car from NJ, and we planned our route to top the ridges, so we had no problems – except when we got to National Starch on Forrest Avenue right as their night shift was letting out! It was a skating rink and bumper cars combined – we pulled over and let them sort it out, then continued. Never lost power in our little fleabag apartment near Emory U, went out cross country skiing on the roads the next day. Hey, we were crazy young marrieds. My mom was downtown at Georgia State. It took her 7 hours to get home, but she made it. She had a bag of kitty litter in the trunk for the hills.

    We missed both ’78 blizzards completely, the cold and precip passed well to our north. ’73 was a horrible ice storm in Atlanta though – my parents were without power for almost two weeks, and my husband (then my fiance) ferried in food and fuel in his old rattletrap Ford with chains and a chainsaw!

  46. JaneC says:

    I don’t at all envy the snow and cold weather! I lived in Spokane for four years–snow from mid-November until April every year in city that never budgets for plowing. I’m pretty happy to be in Southern California right now, on vacation in San Diego (I live in L.A.). It’s supposed to be 68 today. I might have to put my sweatshirt on.

  47. I learned a new glove trick over the weekend, when visiting my younger brother’s horse at the stable. The lady who runs the stable was wearing surgical gloves under her regular gloves as a liner. She said it kept her hands toasty while she was out all day.

    Unfortunately, the second part of the trick is that you have to _keep_ the surgical gloves on, all the time you’re outside, because you lose a lot of the good of them if you keep pulling your gloves off and on….

  48. An American Mother says:


    Farming is always tough. But blizzards don’t help.

    I worked on a cattle ranch in Valentine NE one summer. I rode fence, which was not a difficult job – a neat little sorrel QH gelding, two rolls of wire, cutters, and a fence stretcher. But bringing in the hay was hot, dirty, exhausting work.

    The thing that worried me the most was the little funnel clouds you’d see popping on the horizon on any given July afternoon . . . .

  49. Art says:

    I remember being in Austin, TX some years ago on business when the area was hit with freezing rain. School and road closures were announced on the radio for what I thought was a routine event. That was until I met a policeman blocking my way to the factory I was supposed to visit:

    Officer: The roads are closed due to the freezing rain. Turn around and be careful of the ice. Where are you from by the way?

    Me: Chicago.

    Officer: Turn around and be careful of the Texans then!

  50. Emilio III says:

    The typical Texas driver drives much too slow in freezing weather, so most of the people you see in the ditch are damnyankees who tried to get around them. This past Christmas Eve my drive to “Midnight” Mass was illuminated by the flashing red and blue strobe lights of emergency vehicles assisting them. But of the four vehicles I came close enough to see the license plates, only two had Texas plates (and one of those had Detroit Redwings stickers). The only vehicle which appeared to have serious damage was a 4wd Jeep with Colorado license plates.

  51. gambletrainman says:

    I, too, am a native Virginian. Two incidents—When we got snow (when I was in school), if the roads got treacherous, the (Catholic Schools,anyway) would shut down at 12Noon, and the next day there’d be classes as normal. Today, the first sign of snow, the school systems shut down and many don’t open back up until a week later, yet the parents have to go to work. A comical example was about 10 years ago, when I drove for a public transportation, I was making my first pick-up of the day at 4AM in a blizzard so heavy, I had to drive with no headlights in order to see where I was going. At 5AM, the radio announced that the schools would be closed. By 6AM, the temperature rose, and the precipitation turned to rain. By 10AM, the sun came out, and the temperature got up to 50. So, how could you explain to a visitor that the reason kids were off from school that day was because of snow?

    The second incident—you New Yorkers remember a few years ago, when the wind chill was -50, and Al Gore had to cancel his speech—-on global warming?

  52. When I lived in the Northeast, I would find it hilarious when it got to be 50 degrees F and the southerners (no disrespect meant, here!) and the guys from Vietnam, the Philippines and South America would be running around with parkas with their hoods up!
    And then, when we’d get a real snowstorm (but with only 10-20 degrees F), you’d think the Apocalypse had come…
    Boy, nothin’ like a good ole Wisconsin winter to put things into perspective!

  53. markomalley says:

    I chuckle when the schools in Maryland give “snow weeks” like they did after the snowstorm last month. I think back to when I was a little one growing up in Minnesnowta (I remember only getting one snow day throughout all 13 years of primary and secondary school) — during the glory days of the Vikings…when the unflappable Bud Grant would not allow heaters on the sidelines at the Met, regardless of the temperature.

    I chuckle when I heard that this one snow last month (about 19 to 25 inches) completely shot almost the state’s entire snow removal budget ($26M out of a $27M annual budget). Even so, the roads weren’t fully clear until a rainstorm about a week later washed away the rest of the snow.

    But I fully agree that driving in the DC Metro area is dangerous, at best, after any kind of snow. Not because the roads are bad, but because the drivers are either utterly unfamiliar or completely incompetent.

  54. catholicmidwest says:

    Oooo. Ooooo. I want a snow week.

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