Brutal Cold

When in doubt, you can always talk about the weather in polite Minnesota conversation. Days like today, when we are expected to have yet another big winter storm and the potential for Olympic Ice Dancing on the roads, it’s a topic you can count on.  It’s not controversial but it provides a nearly endless supply of entertainment much like driving a flaming bus through a wall of televisions, at least in the sense that it’s likely to be lethal.

Many of us learn to be fascinated by the weather in ways that seek awkward and geeky to people in other parts of the nation. That’s a shame because a hard study of weather is a form of meditation that can clear your mind like no other form.  Plus, it’s on teevee.  Here in the middle of a vast continent we are at the mercy of whatever blows our way.  It’s something that everyone can talk about – even if no one does anything about it.

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Busted Weather

It was a glorious Independence Day in Minnesota.  A high of 84F and a decent breeze to take the edge off the sun made the perfect backdrop to pick up the aroma of grilling meat.  It’s all any of us could ever hope for.  But it was in blinding contrast to the soggy wet June that made a mud puddle out of huge swatches of southern Minnesota and brought nasty storms that at one point had over a million people without power.  What is up with this weather?

The same strange patterns that brought us a drought last year have been equally unkind in the opposite way this year, meaning we are in a kind of long-term trend towards more extreme weather in every and all direction.  Exactly why is unclear, but we can expect this to continue.  At least when everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything we can call it a reasonable response, yes?

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Streamin’

When in doubt, you can always talk about the weather in polite Minnesota conversation. Days like today, when we are expected to have yet another big winter storm and the potential for Olympic Ice Dancing on the roads, it’s a topic you can count on.  It’s not controversial but it provides a nearly endless supply of entertainment much like driving a flaming bus through a wall of televisions, at least in the sense that it’s likely to be lethal.

Many of us learn to be fascinated by the weather in ways that seek awkward and geeky to people in other parts of the nation. That’s a shame because a hard study of weather is a form of meditation that can clear your mind like no other form.  Plus, it’s on teevee.  Here in the middle of a vast continent we are at the mercy of whatever blows our way.  It’s something that everyone can talk about – even if no one does anything about it.

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Solar Weather

It’s not just that it’s hot.  It’s the stifling stillness that has settled in over the center of the continent that slowly suffocates, like a python wrapping around its prey.  A year that started out promising, with plenty of warmth and rain early on, has turned deadly for crops throughout the grain belt of the US.

The price of corn has shot up 40% in the last month as a terrible harvest falls ahead of brown, dead stalks grimly standing in the fields.  As much as a third of the grain belt states is in “severe drought” conditions, and it’s likely to only worsen.  This is the kind of shock our economic system simply cannot handle right now, already weakened by bumbling in financial centers far from where people do actual work.

What has caused such awful weather?  It’s always hard to say exactly, but we can be sure this will last a while longer – and it is too late for most of the crops.

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