January thaw

January thaw
paperwhite narcissus--wikimedia commons

Cold weather has been in the news to start this new year.

Thanks to climate change, it's warmer in Alaska than in parts of the Lower 48 states. Sleet fell in Houston,  and  snow fell in Georgia. A massive Nor'easter hit Boston and New York. Meteorologists are giving tutorials on layering. Warming  shelters are opening in Atlanta.  Bombogenesis and bomb cyclone  have become part of our common vocabulary, like polar vortex.

"Where's your global warming now?"  in the middle of a deep freeze  is not even a joke. These severe cold spells are part of the pattern of a warming climate.

But today, there is a break in the subzero wind chills, as temperatures are forecast above freezing.  The dusting  of snow on top of freezing rain is melting in the sun. The sound of the dripping is pleasant. The air feels almost like spring!

There will be more cold to come, for sure.  And if you are feeling a bit winter-weary,  what do you do?

Mike Royko famously said the two winter pastimes in Chicago are drinking and brooding.  Some would add binging out on Netflix and pizza.

Here are some other suggestions--

Instead of brooding, try a different vibe on Sundays from 4-6 pm. WDCB Public Radio, 90.9 FM. has a new show-- MAMBO CLASSICO CON EL CAOBO.  DJ El Caobo plays  classic and contemporary mambo, salsa, cha-cha-chá, Latin jazz and boleros.  It's also streaming at WDCB.org. Tune in, it's hot!

Add more colors and green to your life with glass bottles and plant cuttings in a sunny window. You can also try winter bulbs like paperwhite narcissus. They are fragrant and easy to grow.  Warning, these bulbs are poisonous to cats!  If you have cats, grow cat grass instead. It will remind you of summer, and baseball.

Here's more color therapy,  and here is more information on how to grow  paperwhites, too.

A  big sweater, a hot drink, and a good book can offer inspiration.  Embrace the elements with Jack London, explore the implications of a warming climate with J. G. Ballard, or get into the heat of politics with the latest bestseller--Fire and Fury!




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  • "Warming shelters are opening in Atlanta." When I was driving to and from Florida, I saw in Georgia, among other excessive road signs, two "Bridge Ices Before Road" signs on each bridge. I wondered in October if they were necessary, but they now became so.

    "cat grass." Maybe it is time for Chia Garfield again.

  • In reply to jack:

    Greetings, Jack and thanks for reading! Yes, I think the South is not used to that kind of weather. Is there central heating, even? Snow tires?

    I'll have to look for a Chia Garfield. I have seen Chia emojis at Walgreens...

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    1. There usually is some form of central heating, but more likely a heat pump. I bet the electric heater's capacity is not sufficient to deal with last week's weather.
    2. I didn't see too many Chia ads this year. There was one for Bob Ross, which I thought was weird, especially since he has been dead for over 20 years (I surmise from inhaling too much odorless paint thinner). But the Chia Garfield was promoted as that the cat could eat the grass.

  • In reply to jack:

    1.Yes, space heaters would not be enough, would they? And what about the stunned iguanas and hibernating alligators? Very strange...

    2. Oh, Mr.Bob Ross and his joy of painting are still alive on You Tube and DVDs. His hair is perfect for Chia!

    3. I have seen the Garfield planter for cat grass! It's very funny.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    I implied some sort of central heating electric coil in the air conditioner plenum.There probably are not enough space heaters in their home improvement stores to meet the sudden demand.

    I already induced AW to delve into the falling iguanas.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks Jack--I didn't know that about the heating coils. I imagine there was quite a demand for the space heaters!
    It's like the portable fans here, during a heat wave....

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    ,,or any electric generator during an ice storm. I had to wait 4 days for one in upstate NY.* I guess with all the Comm Ed dysfunction, it isn't surprising that there are a lot of Generac units around, even though the smart grid is much more reliable.

    I guess that's why people near me have dual sump pumps with battery backup. I never thought of that.

    *One offshoot of that was that a home improvement chain owned by Wegmans Food Markets had a policy that they would honor prices advertised within a month. They suddenly realized, after the generators came in, that they had an advertisement for a sale the next week, and had to make refunds.

  • Or take a nip with a cool Cat......Great post.

    BTW, those were Royko's pasttmes the rest of the year too.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    True that about Mike Royko! Thanks for reading, AW.

  • About a week ago, they said this cold snap was only a small dip in the jet stream and wouldn't last long. Now it is the entire 7 day forecast.

  • In reply to jack:

    I don't know, Jack. It seems these events last longer than predicted. The jet stream is broken, I think.
    Also there was sleet and freezing rain forecast yesterday evening for Chicago in time for rush hour commute. I didn't see it here, but maybe further south...Indiana did get some.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    That also seems what happened here (north suburbs). Only thing I noticed that the temperature went down, rather instantly, from the 40s to 26 at about 8 p.m.
    Mike Jansen had a lake effect snow plume going through here, but all I see is flurries.Looks like they are becoming more frequent, but not hitting the ground yet.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, a sudden temperature drop--and strong winds! Snow and ice storm further south and east...

  • This was lovely during the thaw itself, but now it works perfectly as a souvenir, as the city gets early drifts of flurries across the pavement like sand on a windy beach. (You good influence, you.)

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Yes, snow on the beaches of Aruba, in the travel posters on the train platforms, too...
    Thanks for reading!

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