An arctic blast of cold air is moving into ND and MN.
On Friday (12/27), the high temperature in Fargo, North Dakota, was in the 40s (although one bank with a time/temp sign said it was 50 degrees, but who trusts banks to tell the truth?), and the low that day (Friday) was in the high 20s, which is relatively nice for the Christmas season around here. Two days later, on Sunday (12/29), the high is predicted to be -10 and the low will be fucking 24 below fucking zero (and the windchill factor will be around -50 or -60, which is horribly and brutally cold, if you have any exposed skin areas -- you don’t go outside without a coat and hat and scarf and long underwear to protect yourself from the cold).
So the temperature here will have dropped 50 or 60 or maybe even 70 degrees in just two days. The windchill will kill you in a few minutes if you go outside without any clothes on. We try not to be naked in such weather. We wear lots of layers. We bundle up. The homeless shelters fill up.
Here are some thoughts about weather and one of my memories of weather.
When I was young (in the 1960s), I remember visiting my grandparents’ lake cabin on Middle Eau Claire lake, 10 or 20 or 30 miles from Hayward, Wisconsin (which I remember had a candy store called Tremblay’s that made delicious home-made fudge, which is something a kid would remember). I don’t think there was a TV in the lake cabin. My grandmother would listen to Minnesota Twins baseball games on the radio. Quite often the game broadcasts from WCCO had lots of static, because we were in Wisconsin.
My grandparents had a barometer on the wall that helped predict the weather. In the morning, they’d mark where the barometer was, then later in the day they could see if it was going up or down. I think a rising barometer meant good weather (no rain or snow). Falling was bad.
Of course, this assumes a grandchild doesn’t play with the marker from the morning. I was once sternly advised not to change the marker.
But I was thinking about this because on Friday (when the weather was in the 40s), everyone in Fargo/Moorhead was talking about how Sunday was going to be brutally cold. Because we all saw it on the internet. Or on TV. Because it's on the satellite maps. Or we heard it on the radio. We knew the cold front was coming. Nowadays we know about future weather.
When my grandparents were young kids (before radio or TV existed), they depended on the barometer to predict the weather. There were no satellites in the sky. There was no internet or radio or TV (and they were still traveling in horse-and-buggies). But there was a tiny bit of science that could tell you if a storm was coming: the barometer. So my grandparents knew it was important to have a barometer in their lake cabin.
I forgot to mention this part. My grandfather was a Lutheran minister. He was very judgmental about sin and he was often holier-than-thou. And he believed in prayer. But he also had a barometer, because science has some truth in it, too. And he wanted to know if a rainstorm or snowstorm was coming. Because science sometimes predicts the future and tells you things you want to know (like the weather). He believed in the Bible, but he knew science was good, too.