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Look out! Here comes February

I was not really surprised to discover “global warming” hasn’t prevented us from breaking several long-standing frigid temperature records so far this winter. As an Iowan, there are few things I expect more than setting a new mark for lousy weather.

I understand we have a new term (at least to me) for the culprit responsible for this latest record-setter “polar vortex” – super cold air that’s usually spends its time spinning around up in the Arctic. Evidently, it hasn’t felt the need to visit us for more than 20 years.

There’s not much we can do about it – except move to a state or country with a warmer climate. After the way things have been going in those places, I’ll probably take my chances here.

Thus far this January, we have suffered through some colder temperatures than a frozen chicken pot pie. Makes one feel like he or she should be wrapped in a Swanson package and put on display in the freezer section of the grocery store. Unfortunately, February is just around the corner.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not much of a February fan. For years, I’ve campaigned to have the second month of the year wiped off our calendars. But to no avail.

I’ve always been amazed that a month which serves as the birthday for two of our greatest presidents can also be responsible for such crummy weather.

I guess that’s not entire true. Actually, February’s weather usually isn’t much worse than January’s, but by the time it rolls around, we’re so sick of it that it seems worse.

Sure, it may be the shortest month of the year (day-wise), but it’s got to be the longest one of the year (suffering-wise.) If there’s one good day, it’ll make up for it with three or four rotten ones.

What really bugs me is the fact that in many southern states, February marks the beginning of spring and the nice weather that comes with it.

Many years ago, while I was in Texas in the Army, I finally got a weekend leave. Upon the advice of some native Texans, I travelled down to Laredo for their annual festival.

When I got there, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Most of the celebrating was taking place on the other side of the river – in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. That wasn’t so surprising as was what they were celebrating: Washington’s birthday! The fact that it came at the same time as the opening of the bull fighting season might have had something to do with that.

I celebrated Washing-ton’s birthday that year like any other good red-blooded Texan would – at the bull fights. I even paid the extra money so I could sit on the shaded side of the arena.

This year I won’t be watching any bull fights. I’ll probably be scooping the snow our weather forecasters say isn’t coming and lugging around a ton of clothes to keep warm, even though it’s supposed to be warmer than normal.

And, as I’ve said before, there is a simple solution to this whole thing. All we would have to do is add two or three days to each of the other months and PRESTO – no February.

Sure, dating a check January 33 might take some getting used to, but when you tear January off your calendar and see March staring you in the face – that would more than make up for it.

Meanwhile, we might as well settle down in the warmth of our homes, pick up the seed catalog all of us received in the mail last week and dream about spring and summer.

Actually, I feel a cold coming on. That’s only right. After all, what better way to greet February than with a good, old-fashioned cold?

(Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times. He lives near Cambridge.)

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