(More than) 40 million people…

Frozen reservoirThe evening news begins nearly every night with some version of, “Forty million people will be affected by the weather tonight.” Unless another Malaysian Air flight disappears, our TV screens will be filled with 8 feet of snow in Boston, and 18-wheelers piled up on Midwestern interstate highways.

Of course, news casters, not to be accused of unqualified hyperbole, usually note the effect will be limited to residents of Illinois through Massachusetts. If they’d include folks in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, and maybe Virginia and West Virginia, they could get those numbers up. Even Texas has had snow this year – which is odd since part of the state was wondering as Fall approached whether they would have water at all.

A friend went to Georgia last week, just before the snow arrived. He had not planned for the snow, which extended his stay several days. I’m certain he could have provided a good story, with pictures, but they would have been lost under the images of semi-trailer trucks piled on one another in Indiana.

Wife and I visited her sister in Miami couple Januarys ago. As we prepared to explore some of the places significant in her childhood, I asked Sis whether, in sandals and a multi-colored tee-shirt, I looked enough like a tourist.

“You definitely look like a tourist,” she said. “You’ll be the only one out there in a tee-shirt.”

Sure enough, the locals were wearing fur-lined parkas. The temp had fallen to 50 degrees in the mid-afternoon, 40-something at night.

Three years ago, we bought a snowthrower. A couple winters had passed with significant – for here – snowfall, and it was beginning to look as though we might have more, especially with climate change changing the climate.

I started this winter with a bit more than half a tank of gas in the machine. This week, we had a couple inches and I finally ran out of gas – fortunately just as I was done for the night.

And last week, one of the networks had a college professor on to say the reason it has been so cold in the eastern half of our nation is cold air in the Arctic has been flowing down below – sometimes way below – the Canadian border. He did not explain why that is happening, though there was a brief mention from the news anchor that the West Coast has been experiencing hot and dry weather.

We are not alone in our suffering.

I had friends when I lived in Maine who would move to Florida for the winter to escape the cold and snow. If trends continue, they will be staying home soon, or heading for Brazil. A friend in Brazil said there has been enough heat to fry eggs on the sidewalk – literally.

Another friend, Rose Marie, lives in Guadalupe, in the northwest of Rio de Janiero, Brazil. She wrote recently: “I’m glad you and your family are well. Here in Brazil is very hot, we never had a summer so water reservoirs (are empty) well as lakes and rivers. In regions already being rationing because it is not raining. Today it rained a little but not enough.” (Translated from Portuguese.)

In Brazil, Fall will begin March 21. I wonder what their Winter will be like.

It turns out, way more than 40 million people will be affected by the weather tonight.

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