Minnesotans love to talk about the weather, and a week like this when we flirt with historical records is fraught with opportunities for us to revel in our shared misery.
The same basic rules apply whether the current conditions involve extreme heat or cold, rain, drought, or snow.
I’ve been doing some informal, non-scientific research, and I’ve compiled a list of what an observer is likely to see on an average day during a cold snap in Minnesota on the kind of grand scale we are experiencing this week.
Incidentally, the expression “cold snap” comes from the fact that if you stay outdoors too long in this weather, your digits are likely to snap off.
Following, in no particular order, are the results of my research:
On an average day of extreme cold in Minnesota, one is likely to see or hear:
• Eight comments about schools being closed, roughly divided between those who are in favor of keeping kids safe, and those who say “They never closed the schools when I was young kids today must be soft.”
• Twelve posts on social media from people who have taken photos of the temperature display on their car’s dashboard (presumably as an aid to anyone who has not seen the wall-to-wall team coverage every TV news outlet in the region has devoted to the subject, including countless charts and graphs going back to the days when people first began keeping records).
• Seven images of screen captures from people’s mobile phones showing the same graphics referenced above, presumably for the 1 percent of the population that does not have their own weather app on their mobile.
• Three remote pieces showing TV reporters asking motorists at gas stations what they think about the weather.
• Fourteen reports from TV reporters standing out in the cold with a freeway or public building in the background. Generally, these reporters are telling people not to leave their houses unless it is absolutely necessary. [Most are also wishing they had chosen a different major in college.]
• If the weather event also involves snow or ice, you will also see a half-dozen videos showing reporters driving around with their camera operators while telling people to stay home because it is not safe to be on the roads, and no travel is advised.
• One report from the airport showing clips of people saying they are surprised that flights have been delayed or cancelled.
• Three images thanking emergency workers who have to work under these conditions. [Amen to that.]
• Two posts reminding people that farmers are out doing chores and caring for their animals no matter what the weather [also true].
• Two posts from people who are lucky enough to be on vacation in a warmer place heckling those who are stuck in the cold.
• One optimistic wise guy commenting that “at least mosquitoes haven’t been much of a problem lately.”
• One photo or video of a college student (always male) outdoors wearing shorts. He won’t give his name, “because his mom would be mad.” [Your mom is right, kid you’re an imbecile.]
• One interview with a spokesperson from the Minnesota Department of Transportation advising people to be patient, allow plenty of time, and give plow operators room to operate.
• At least one column from a clever columnist who makes a living not a grand living, perhaps, but a living by observing and commenting on the quirky behavior of others.