• 79°

Except for the climate

Garrison Keillor says, People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesnt mean much now, except for the climate. The question, Where are you from? doesnt lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know?

Perhaps, but that climate exception looms pretty large right now. This week, interestingly, we breathe Arctic air. We havent experienced a deep freeze like this sub 40-degree weather lasting for weeks since the Christmas through New Years cold snap of 2000-2001. The Bizzard of 93 saw a winter cyclone that left us shivering for days without power. Brace yourselves. Accuweather predicts this will be like the great winters of the 60s and 70s. Great!

The frigid air outside today was very recently way up north. Dense air cold fronts move twice as fast as warm air fronts and produce sharper changes. Up north this icy blast recently sustained what life there is in one of the harshest environments in the world. Then it headed down south to remind us why we still keep those Swedish woolen sweaters safe from moths in our closets.

If, upon stepping outside, you find yourself saying this weather is a real bear, you have hit the target. The word Arctic is from the Greek for bear, and is thought to refer to the constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Bear, which contains Polaris, the Pole Star. Brrrrrrrr.

Yet, take heart, Carolinians, for this chill will recede soon enough to the lands of the Inukitut, Chukchi and Inupiat. They have adapted to much worse. The temperature in Polar Bear Provincial Park 1,600 miles north of us on the Hudson Bay was expected to be -21 degrees today. Just 462 miles from here in northwest Pennsylvania, snow squalls recently dumped 33 inches.

So, before complaining, check the weather map. It still means something to be from the south. JB