“You can fool all of the people some of the time…”

Relax, this isn’t a political rant, even though I am borrowing a line from Abraham Lincoln. It isn’t a complaint about Comcast’s lack of a Service Level Agreement for household Internet users since that was my last posting. It does sum up the frustration in the Twin Cities area about the rapidly changing weather forecasts for the next several days. Local urgent care centers are seeing an increase in whiplash injuries from people doing double-takes at the uncertainty of the snow line.

Between 5:00 am and 5:00 pm today (December 3), the forecast for my area went from less than an inch of snow to somewhere around five inches. There is now a Winter Storm Warning in effect because the snow line has moved about 100 miles farther south than originally estimated. Winter weather is more complex than summer weather when it comes to estimating precipitation amounts. In the summer, the primary precipitation is rain, with hail distantly (and thankfully) in second place. A 1°F temperature shift in the summer rarely affects precipitation quantity or type. In winter, that 1°F swing means the difference between plain old rain, freezing rain, or heavy and wet snow. Barometric pressure also subtly affects the freezing point of water.

Coping with impending lousy weather is stressful. Some people rely on television shows to help relax, but the broadcast networks are all in reruns already. Others hope to get out-of-town and head to a warm beach. Frozen precipitation causes delay problems and cancellations. Judging by the number of recipe and food picture postings on Facebook, others are coping by calorie loading. The old saying “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first” certainly applies.

I have not heard from my usual partners-in-crime what the “over/under” is for the difference between actual snowfall and forecast snowfall. My football forecast went into the tank when the Vikings won on Sunday, and I do no better than the weather wonks on the local TV stations at predicting the weather. My guess is there will be more freezing rain than snow and tomorrow’s commute will be miserable, at least for my end of the metro area. I hope those of you who must commute tomorrow depart from and arrive at home safely.

Our snowfall ending is also the end of average temperatures for at least a week. We could have four days of below zero lows (-18°C) Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights. By next Wednesday, the high temperature may stay below zero for the day. Homemade chili sounds like a good way to battle the cold weather. A little habañero sauce rather than chili powder and substituting ground turkey for ground beef should help with the calorie count. I know it will help with sweating off the calories. So will using the snow blower and shovel.

My Internet service is stable again. The new cable modem was defective. That still does not explain why I was having service problems for three days before the new cable modem arrived. It certainly appears a software update sent by Comcast caused the issue.

Give your loved ones a meaningful hug, stay warm, and stay safe. Faithful readers are hard to come by!

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