Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

December 9, 2013

Oh, this wacky weather

By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — The Little Woman (not her favorite sobriquet) and I check our paper every day to see what the weather is doing at our previous home locations (Denver and Dallas) just to see what we are missing. According to the news it is all gloom and doom for both those locations — snow, ice, and cold (as in brrrrr!) temperatures. The weather maps show “frigid” temperatures behind the stalled jet stream all the way across the upper midwest and northeast. Then it shows “very cold” temperatures across the lower midwest all the way to the east coast.

Fortunately, all this coldness is being held back from Florida by a gnarly high pressure system, so our temperatures for the next week are predicted to be in the low-to-mid 80’s. We did have kind of a cold snap over Thanksgiving where temperatures plunged down to the high-50’s a couple of nights, but we had the doors open to the fresh air by the afternoons.

There are lots of pictures in our paper and snippets on local TV of the poor folks from places like Chicago, Cincinnati, and the like, whose vacation time has run out. They dread leaving the beaches, bistros, and outdoor venues to head back into the frozen tundra of the far north. I feel sorry for them — but not too sorry (hee, hee, hee). I don’t want to gloat, but I just had to get up and close the pocket doors to the “lanai,” and turn the air conditioner on.

I am watching the World Challenge golf tournament which is being played in Thousand Oaks, Calif. for the benefit of the Tiger Woods Foundation. Even though it is located in the greater Los Angeles area, they are experiencing severe weather. In fact, the first round was delayed over an hour due to severe frost. It is now Saturday and the players are really bundled up against the elements.

I noticed two interesting things about this tournament. It has an elite invited field of the top 18-ranked golfers, but Phil Mickelson is not there. What’s up with that? He certainly should be in any elite field and he did win the U.S. Open this year. It can’t be travel distance, since he lives about a driver and a three-wood away in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The second thing is  this tournament is pulling up stakes and moving to Orlando, Fla. next year. Tiger lives down in that neck of the woods and probably wants to get away from the harsh southern California winters.

California citrus farmers alone have spent over $12.4 million since the cold snap hit to warm up their many thousands of acres of fruit trees. They use a combination of irrigation and wind machines to propel warm air through the fields and bring the nighttime temperatures up. Also at risk are other crops like avocados, lettuce, and spinach.

It is just crazy cold in some areas of the country. Most of the state of Arkansas is at a standstill, 44,000 homes and businesses are without power, and the governor has declared a state of emergency. The Dakotas are facing wind chills of 40 degrees below zero. Some areas of Nevada were at 19 degrees below zero and up to two feet of new snow is predicted in the mountainous areas. Most of southern Missouri is under winter storm warnings with up to eight inches of snow possible. And on and on it goes!

Colorado is under a winter storm watch through Sunday. This is bad news for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos who play a 1 p.m. game against Tennessee. Manning has a reputation for not performing well in frigid weather and there is no colder place to play than Mile-High Stadium in the dead of winter. I attended many of those arctic games and the worst was the “Monday Night Snow Game” against the Green Bay Packers. It snowed so hard that the yard markers were completely obliterated from the first quarter. By the end of the game (which we won on two recovered fumbles) people were sledding down the aisles on empty beer boxes.

Finding the right bus in the dark, in a blinding snowstorm, when they’re all jockeying to get out of the lot, can be terrifying. The ride back to our starting point was also terrifying with much slipping and sliding of the huge articulated bus. Everyone was soaked to the skin and shaking from the cold. I had very cleverly reserved a big thermos full of hot cocoa, peppermint schnapps, and Kahlua for the trip home. When I opened the jug up, and that aroma started to spread, I became very popular with the passengers around me.

It is now Sunday as I finish this rant and, since I have more than a passing interest in the football games scheduled, I checked the predicted weather for the home teams. Get this! Nine games will by played in snowy weather with temperatures ranging from the teens into the low 30’s. Peyton and the boys will be struggling at near zero degrees. Brrrrr just doesn’t cover that one.

This rant reminds me of the time in another life, when I was retiring a long-time civil servant at Lowry AFB, Colorado. As the proceedings wound down, I asked the old gent where he planned to live in retirement. He replied, “I don’t know exactly, but it will be somewhere down south of here. I’m going to tie my snow shovel onto the front of my camper and me and The Little Woman (the first time I ever heard that term) are going to head down I-25. We’ll just keep driving south until someone asks me what that thing is on the front of my camper — and we’ll retire somewhere in that area.”

See ya...

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Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com