Sunday, December 14, 2008

On the Periphery of a Blizzard

Here in southeastern Minnesota we are expected to remain on the periphery of the blizzard hitting North Dakota and northern and central Minnesota today. Even the periphery is experiencing an extreme change in conditions. When I woke up this morning I could hear water dripping from the eaves, and as I drove 50 minutes north to St. Paul at midday it was still 39 or 40 degrees F. as I came into the metro area, according to my car's external temperature gauge. Less than an hour later as I headed back south it read 28, then steadily dropped until 20 minutes later it was down to 15 degrees. The roads that had been wet with mist as I headed northward had been scoured dry by rising winds and cold -- freeze-dried, more or less. I thought of the five-day blizzards described in Laura Ingalls Wilder's books and felt myself lucky to have reliable transportation and a safe warm house to return to, and to be only on the periphery of this storm.

Addendum: At 7 p.m. it is now down to 3 degrees F., with a wind chill of -17, according to That's a 36-degree drop so far, and the night is young.

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