I’ve experienced lower temperatures but I really can’t remember when.
The deep freeze of February, 2011, is definitely one for the books. Young people should write a note in their diaries to embellish the hardships and retell the story to their grandkids 30 or 40 years from now.
“How cold was it grandpa?”
“Why it was so cold that I saw a flock of geese frozen in a V-formation over Greene Acres Lake.”
“It was so cold the Internet stopped flowing for three days in eastern New Mexico.”
“It was so cold I chipped a tooth on a bowl of soup.”
“It was so cold words froze in the air. If you wanted to hear what someone had to say you had to grab a few sentences and take them in by the fire.”
“It was so cold we had to chop up the piano for firewood. We only got two chords.”
Enough of the nonsense and enough of the cold weather. I think the official low, according to the National Weather Service on Wednesday night was 8-below. The high barely got into double digits for two days and windchills dropped to a numbing 2-below.
In my lifetime I can vaguely remember lower temperatures but that windchill number might be the worst my body ever experienced. I had to get out in it a few times during the worst of those windchills and it truly took your breath away.
The good thing was that people in eastern New Mexico hunkered down and endured the hardships of power outages, busted water pipes, high winds and slick streets and no one came to serious harm.
Weather like this a generation or two before ours would have killed lots of livestock and placed many human lives in danger as well.
My grandparents would have been milking cows in the dark February morning inside a drafty milk parlor. Their parents would have been hunkered down in a half-dugout waiting for the wind to lay.
We’re pretty dependent on our modern conveniences, homes and cars but the technology they were built with has fortunately become pretty reliable. We don’t have to suffer through very much anymore.
Hopefully future generations will have it even safer and easier but just in case they do maybe we should store this epic winter story away in our memories for when we start to notice just how easy they’ve got it.