Stephen A. Fuqua (SAF) is a Bahá'í, programmer, and conservation and interfaith advocate in the DFW area of Texas.

October 17, 2004

Minnesota Cold

Its 39° F outside on October 17, 2004 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. One year ago, in Austin, Texas, the low temperature was 63 with a high of 83. That is a middling temperature for October, on the low side. Halloween hit 90° (admittedly a record high). Today I saw snow flurries, something I saw once this past winter in Austin. I'm really in for it this year.

[photo]
Silver Maple at our complex

While I have a solid intellectual understanding for what I'm in store for in my first northern winter, I readily recognize that such an understanding will not prepare me for reality. And this past week had gone to prove that.

With the last several days' temperatures hovering in the 30's, the weather has been brisk but tolerable. I don't have a problem with 30's, though I don't like 15+ mph winds as we had yesterday. And I knew that I would get these temperatures earlier in the fall and later in the spring than in Austin, naturally. But I was not prepared for them in mid-October. I was expecting 50's and 60's.

[photo]
Sugar Maple leaf at our complex

Thankfully the warmth will be back this week, relatively speaking, as we're supposed to get up to about 60°. But flurries? And sleet? I remember calling my mother back in February to say "I think it's sleeting! I haven't seen sleet in 8 years" (some number like that). And now I've been sleeted upon twice (also Friday late afternoon).

In 2003 in Austin the temperature dipped below freezing on 12 days. At the airport outside of town this occurred probably 20 times, but I don't count those because I was inside of town. Thus far this month it hasn't technically reached freezing, but it has gotten down into the mid-thirties on 8 days so far.

[photo]
Red Maple at Como Park

But at least the leaves are beautiful =). There's something to be said for that. Austin had a few leaves change, but nothing spectacular. Sadly we've not been able to get out of town, so we've not been able to see the grandeur that exists both to the north- and south-east of the city. Nevertheless there are many gorgeous trees in town.

[photo]
Hamm Memorial Waterfall at Como Park (water was drained this week)

2 Comments

just gotta tell you steve, 90's all week here in A-town... you could'nt get me back up north for all the autumn colours in the whole crayola box... let's hear it for year-round outdoor soccer & swimming... ;)
ps-have you read that stuff from abdu'l baha on temperature/climate?

I am so, so sorry for what you are about to face, newcomers to Minnesota! This is Orkideh (met you at Feast) writing on your blog, by the way. Anyway, I think you will adjust. What helps most is if you find a winter sport or two that you and your wife enjoy together, such as cross-country skiing. Also, when it gets really bad, you will want to bundle up like its your full-time job. But really, many Minnesotans (such as myself) hate the weather a lot, so we'll commiserate with you when winter gets in full-swing. My advise: talk to others; don't keep the fear inside :)