Our brush with the Polar Vortex of 2014 is finally behind us. Unseasonably cold weather coupled with unseasonably brisk winds created several days of people staying home, schools closing due to dangerous wind chill, disabled vehicles, black ice on roadways, frostbite injuries, and dozens of YouTube videos of people tossing boiling water into the frigid air creating instant clouds. Here in the Twin Cities, we were lucky that the temperature did not go as low as the early forecasts of -35°F. It was cold enough bottoming out at -22°F, especially with a wind chill of -45°F. The metro area was very cold, but it did not set a record low during the cold snap.
Car washes are quite busy today, even though the temperature is only 21°F (it started out at -13°F this morning). With the sun shining brightly, the ice on the roads is melting especially on the asphalt surfaces. I have fresh deer tracks in my front yard and earlier today a fox trotted across the street with a squirrel dangling from its mouth. The crows had another tussle with the barred owl that is becoming a semi-regular in the neighborhood and the cardinals are pairing up and eating the berries off the viburnum bushes. Even the critters get cabin fever.
The latest weather forecasts is another “good news/bad news” forecast. The good news is temperatures are to remain seasonal for the next week or so, giving furnaces and urgent care centers a reprieve. The bad news is there are several chances for either snow for freezing precipitation along with gusty winds. It remains to be seen if any significant precipitation occurs. Forecasts change quickly, and people’s attention spans are short enough to forget the inaccuracy of earlier predictions. Next week heralds in the lowest average temperatures of the year and the days are getting longer again. Winter could still be as lingering as last year, but for now we are all looking forward to warmer weather. Gardening catalogs are appearing more frequently in the mail. Baseball spring training begins in less than five weeks and we are under 90 days until the Twins home opener. A little hope goes a long way….well, the Twins are still going to have a losing season, but there may be improvement over the past three years of 95+ losses per season.
Try to get outdoors for a bit if your weather allows it. Both hemispheres are seeing some moderation from either bitter cold or blazing hot temperatures. The creatures are quite entertaining even if the humans are not. Give your special someone a meaningful hug or three and cure that cabin fever quickly!