Thursday, January 15, 2009

-40 degrees

We in Wisconsin talk a lot about the weather. It doesn't matter what season, what weather, we work it into most conversations. Right now we're not only talking about it but trying to hide from it! Cold and snow are a standard part of winter. For skiiers, snowmobilers, and ice fishermen winter in this state is great. Five inches of snow does not stop us from going about our daily business -- we just may have to do it a bit more cautiously. School is cancelled if a drifting snowfall causes country roads to become dangerous for busses to traverse. We chuckle at news reports about Southern states that are paralyzed by an inch of snow because we are snobby in our hardiness.

However...... we are now dealing with -19F temperatures but with the windchill it becomes -40F! This is "Ice Road Trucker" cold. 150 schools canceled classes today, some are canceling or delaying the start tomorrow, and I have yet to leave the house. Several hundred people on the north side of Appleton went without power for little over an hour this morning; I shivered just thinking of it. These temperatures will continue through tomorrow, but by Sunday we are supposed to hit the balmy temperature of 18 degrees F with a tropical 28 degrees arriving on Monday! I'm going to look for the sunscreen and beach blanket.

To other frozen states, I send you warm thoughts. To those of you in 30+ degrees, send some of the heat our way!

Water Landing

Kudos to the US Air pilot who successfully landed his plane in the Hudson River; he is unquestionably a hero! The story has been all over the media, but I am awestruck at the calm wisdom used by this Airforce Academy alumni whose decisiveness saved his passengers, crew, and probably people on the ground.

I am a nervous flyer who dislikes take offs. While this story doesn't endear me to flying, this pilot's success instills a hope that all my future pilots will act in such a manner. I don't envy a pilot his/her job anyway but these kinds of incidents reaffirm my belief that these are the people who are heroes. Unlike the movie stars who only act in roles, football players who only carry a ball or knock down someone who does, not fictional characters who only portray traits we wish we had. This pilot actually saved people by safely landing his plane and then walking through the plane twice to make sure no one was left behind.

The pilot also set the tone that allowed the passengers to maitain a coolness not related to the outdoor temperature. 155 people calmly left a sinking plane and walked onto land whole. Wow!

Photo from the Washington Post.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snow Desert

I live in a relatively new subdivision without any medium or full size trees or landscaping to block blowing snow. There has been a lot of snow and blowing this winter and recently I've noticed that my backyard has interesting designs in the snow caused by the wind.