Saturday, January 05, 2008

On a weather roller coaster

As a couple of commenters have noted, we've had some cold weather here. We're on a weather roller coaster. We've had record highs and lows in the space of a couple of weeks!

We went from highs in the 80's to highs in the 50's before Christmas, then it warmed back up for New Year's Eve -- I wore sandals -- then turned cold again. We had a FREEZE the other night! Now, this may not seem a crisis to Yankees, but down here, it endangers the citrus industry and fern growers (another big local industry), who scramble feverishly to put out heating pots and misters to protect their crops.

I have to worry about water pipes freezing. My well assembly and water softener have above-ground pipes, and I've awoken a few times in past years to no water until the sun melted the ice.

This time (the first freeze for three or four years), I was out in the dark turning on a a low flow to the sprinkler on the side of the house. This kept water moving through the pipes enough to keep them from freezing up. My hands got wet and it felt like they were being stabbed! Betsy went out with me, and thought we were going to go for a walk. I told her sorry, I'm going back inside to warm up.

The ice coating on the grass and on my fence was quite pretty the next morning.

Now, the weather's turning milder again.


klady said...

I was thinking of commenting on the weather myself but, well, it's what we all do every day up North here all year round. ;)

I think most of us even here know what kind of damage can be done to crops and businesses in Florida by such weather, if only because it hits the news once it impacts the price of juice and fresh fruit (or disrupts the vacation plans of those who count on Florida as the way to escape winter up north). But this crazy roller-coaster thing has been causing its own kind of problems here in central New York, as well.

The other day it was -10 F -- something that would not have struck me as strange in Wisconsin in the 1970's and 1980's (I recall one year in Oshkosh, which is central, not north, where we had something like four weeks when the temperature never reached 32, most of which was sub-zero -- really tough on my poor beagle and my ancient Ford parked in a driveway outside my apartment). But this year here it was in the high 30's and low 40's the week or so ago and now it is supposed to go back up to that and higher (47 predicted for Monday, 53 for Tuesday and Wednesday - right now it is 16). This is going to cause a great deal of damage to roads and structures (that much more freeze - thaw effects) and no doubt will have some economic impact on the businesses in the nearby Adirondacks -- those that rely on skiers and snowmobilers for most of their annual income -- hit hard enough last year when it was quite warm and there was not much snow, this year because skiing in both subzero weather and 40-50 degree weather is problematic.

I think it's also psychologically weird for all of us. We *know* something is not right. Here, what it takes to hunker down for a winter of temperatures in the teens and maybe 20's is hard to bring to bear when it comes and leaves so suddenly. Hard to get kids to cover up, as well. Anyway, global warming and all sorts of crazy weather conditions here we come.

klady said...

P.S. (Oshkosh - I think it was actually four weeks when it did not go above zero F - pretty darned cold)

Saint Pat said...

Brrrr. That's too cold for me!

You're right, though, I think. There's a psychological as well as physiological reaction to weather extremes and constant changes. I think it keeps us off kilter.

Reverend Ref + said...

Wait ... you people grow fern ... as a crop??? ... Wow.

Just out of curiosity, who's the number one customer?

Stay warm -- frozen pipes suck.

Saint Pat said...

YES ferns are a major agricultural item around here!! When your order of Valentine Day flowers arrives for your wife, look at the bouquet -- how the flowers are framed with ferns. Florists are the number one customers of the fern industry!!!!

It was downright hot this afternoon. By the time I got out of a late city council meeting tonight, it had turned downright chilly. I ran the heat all the way home.

Makes no sense. I refuse to turn on the air or heat (though my tootsies are cold right now, as I sit in my fleece house robe) theorizing it will all even out.

David G. said...

It's crazy isn't it, . . . somethings gonna happen sooner than we thought, but I seriously doubt that it's the Apocalypse.

Padre Mickey said...

sings It's summer time, summer time, sum sum summer time, summer time, summer time sum sum summer time, oh sorry, estado√ľnidense. Ya'll be freezin' yer bums off! It be summer time here!