SURRATT: Has winter finally made it here?
Published 4:00 am Friday, January 21, 2022
Are we finally getting into winter?
I know winter officially began Dec. 21 with the winter solstice, that period when the earth tilts, moving us in the northern hemisphere further from the sun, creating what some people call the shortest day of the year (in terms of daylight). The season of winter begins in earnest, despite the fact that some areas of the country have already been blanketed by snow and frozen by cold a month in advance.
When the solstice came to the South, we greeted it with balmy temperatures in the 70s and 80s and sunshine, which, as we who have lived in the South all our lives know, are not unusual for our climate.
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But now, the weather is changing with the visit of a cold front that will drop the temperatures in our area below freezing at night and downright cold during the day. A peek at one of my weather apps indicates we’re in for cold weather just in time for the snowbirds who come to visit our area in an attempt to escape the snow, ice and subfreezing temperatures of the northern climes. For the rest of this week, it will be pile on the covers, break out the hot chocolate, start the fireplace and settle in for the night. Starting Saturday, there will be a warming trend, but the upper 40s and 50s we’ll see during the day for the rest of the month won’t be anywhere near the warm weather we’ve enjoyed.
Over the years, I’ve taken an interest in the weather. Most of the people who know me well know I love to read about, watch and track hurricanes during the summer. But I’ve also been known to watch other weather phenomena like El Niño and La Niña, those two anomalies that manage to affect our weather during the summer and winter. Don’t ask me to explain them because I can’t; apparently, no one else can in non-technical terms, judging from my perusal of the Internet.
Dr. William Gray, where are you when I need you? The late Dr. Gray was a professor of atmospheric sciences at Colorado State University who studied hurricanes and El Niño and its sister. I interviewed him at the National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans in 2005. He could explain the phenomenon in layman’s terms.
But I digress.
As to the original question posed at the start of this column, I believe we are finally getting into winter, but I don’t believe (that is, hope) it won’t get any more severe this year and definitely hope we don’t have another ice storm like we had last year when Vicksburg resembled the ice planet Hoth from Star Wars and the vast majority of us were hunkered down in our homes looking at the white sheets of ice covering cars, lawns, drives, parking lots and front steps, where the slightest wrong move outside could send you cascading down the stairs or a hill.
Instead, what I want to see is moderate temperatures with a slight occasional chill and sunlight. Actually, it could rain a little, as long as the temps don’t get too cold.
And I want to see spring with its warmer temps come in ahead of schedule.