Wednesday, February 26, 2014

MISERY INDEX

Well, it's been confirmed, at least by National Weather Service meteorologist Barbara Mayes Boustead.

Thus has, indeed, been one of the harshest winters of our lifetime.

Associated Press writers Jeff Karoub and Seth Borenstein reported today that Boustead's index is based on cold temperatures and snow.

Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Indianapolis are suffering from their third most extreme winters in more than 60 years, but, the winner of the misery index is the beleaguered city of Detroit, which has endured more than 6 1/2 feet of snow and more than 100 days of below freezing weather this season. It is the city's harshest winter since 1950.

Boustead's method uses daily high and low temperatures and daily and accumulated snowfall to come up with her index of misery.

The misery has cut a wide swath. New York, Milwaukee, and Duluth are in the midst of their fourth harshest winters; while Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Louisville, and Cheyenne are having their top ten harshest winters.

This winter has seemed to be unusually difficult, for a couple of reasons.

In the 70s and 80s severe winters were frequent, and, for many places, the winter of 2011-2012 was the mildest on record, setting us up for this year's knockout punch.

Two days in the 50s over the weekend reduced some of the massive snow piles in my driveway, but all around town, mountains of snow scar the streets, while potholes render driving nearly impossible. People use chair, trash cans, and buckets to reserve parking spaces.

Running friends like Felix Shipp of Grenada, Mississippi, and Elizabeth Withey, of Columbia, South Carolina, experienced snowy days this year. It seems as though the misery has spared no one. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, 49 of the 50 states had some snow on the ground.

So, we are not whiners. The new Misery Index proves it.

Spring is a little over three weeks away, Daylight Savings time begins in 11 days, and the great green Saint Patrick's Day is a beacon for us all, a mere 19 days away.

But...here in Pennsylvania, tonight's temperature is supposed to drop to 1 degree Fahrenheit, and to -1 tomorrow night. A major snowfall is predicted to hit on Monday.

MISERY!