Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Something Must Be Done

We, as Minnesotans, should be outraged. It is time to amend our state constitution. We can no longer afford to operate on a temperature deficit.

For days now I’ve been hearing “negative four, negative eight, negative twenty-five!” We do not let our state government operate on a budget deficit. It’s in our constitution. It’s time to get our act together and mandate, as One People United, that our state end these irresponsible temperature deficits!

Where Does the Snow Go?

MN Winter Landscape at SunsetMN Winter Landscape at Sunset, by danakosko

KSTP asks, “Have you ever wondered where the snow goes when it’s plowed?” I’m kind of ashamed to say that I’ve actually never thought about it. I was just glad it was gone.

According to Minnesota Department of Transportation officials, after trucks move the snow, it gets dumped off a short section of Interstate 94 in Minneapolis.

Storage sites are hard to find, so MnDOT officials are actually keeping the dumping location a secret.

“The city has a storage site, but we don’t like to advertise that. We can have a problem with illegal dumpers; it’s a very small site. If it gets filled up, we can’t do our job for tax payers,” explained Mike Kennedy with the Minneapolis Public Works Department.

To give you an idea how much these secretive snow depositories have to hold—it takes about 150 truckloads just to clear Nicollet Mall.

Secret snow storage site? Illegal snow dumping? Exciting!

Also: At the end of the clip on KSTP, it is mentioned that snow and ice removal will be impacted by budget cuts. I’m a bit worried about what that means.

I is for ice

Local blogger Conner, on his blog, aptly named Conner’s Blog, has produced a thorough and fitting A-Z of winter driving in Minnesota.

Here are my three favorites:

Death Grip – How a percentage of drivers hold the wheel, panicking at the first flake and don’t stop until the last ice melts off Lake Minnetonka.

Matchbook Mark – The Nickname of the drivers who refuse to scrape their windshield and drive with a matchbook sized area to see through until their car defrosts itself.

Traction – Frequently taken for granted, many drivers seem shocked to lose it during the first blizzard.

Monday Morning Huddle

No, not from the cold. Football!

Sure it may be -30 windshield, but the Vikes are hot as they come home from the desert.

So, how about those Vikes?

T-Jack is back! Bernard Berrian is showing the goods. A.P. is, as always,a monster on the greenway. Football!

Here’s a video of Will Smith teaching Bernard Berrian a touchdown dance. Via @2harvest
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBOmeUb9-KM[/youtube]

What games did you watch this weekend?

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Hey idiots, don’t drive on half-frozen lakes

Flickr cc via laneg

We’re nearing the twice a year phenomenon of Minnesotans who aren’t smart enough not to realize ice on lakes isn’t strong enough to walk or drive on, do so and then fall in and sometimes drown and/or lose their cars to the icy waters.

I looked up my post from last year on the subject, and figure it just about sums up what I wanted to post today:

Now that we’ve had some consistent cold, I hereby declare an official countdown until the first clueless Minnesotan yokel drives his SUV/truck onto a half frozen ice lake only to have it fall in.

That will kick off the local media frenzy about waiting until ice is XX” thick before you drive a vehicle out. They will interview local officials who give their recommendations and then interview the clueless guy whose car is now at the bottom of the lake with the fishes.

Then we’ll have approx 2.5 months of quiet before the ice thaws enough for someone to again park their car on thin ice, have it fall in and kick off the Spring-parking-on-ice local media stories. And the countdown has begun…go!

Track the Flu, Get a Flu Shot

Google has unveiled its Google Flu Trends, which they estimate to be two to three weeks ahead of the conventional tracking methods used by the CDC. It looks like the flu is already gaining momentum in parts of the South and East Coast. Right now, Minnesota has low flu activity so it’s a good time to get your flu shot if you haven’t already.

You can receive flu shots at all MinuteClinic locations, and at the local Target and Walgreens stores that have attached clinics. Most of the flu shots offered in these settings will run you under $30. You can also find the closest flu shot clinic near you through the MN Dept of Health. Their site also includes vaccine prices and the types of accepted insurance.

A nasal spray alternative, FluMist, has been on the market for a few years now. You can search from the front page of the website to find where it is being offered near you.

(P.S. Hello, I’m new here. I will try not to be as boring in the future!)

Yep, Winter Is Coming

Ok, so maybe for some reason it’s 70 degrees outside today. But it’s still technically that time of year: Fall in Minnesota. Most of the leafs (leaves) are off the trees, ponds are freezing overnight, and Target has a whole section dedicated to Christmas stuff already, even though it isn’t even Halloween yet. It is at this time of year when two very different kinds of people emerge.

The first is the kind of person who lives in the moment and, despite vast amounts of knowledge, including memories from, say, six months ago, says things like “I can’t wait for it to snow!” This person represses memories of negative high temperatures, wind chills, icy roads, snow in March, snow in May, and everything else that makes a Minnesota Winter the best in the world.
Winter in Minnesota. Love it or SHUT UP.

The second kind of person, what is known as a “rational human being,” mopes and complains about the impending winter. They like warm, comfortable temperatures and they are sad to see them leave. For some reason.

These two kinds of people can be classified, as your favorite Congresswoman and mine might say, as Real Minnesotans and people with some very un-Minnesotan beliefs.

I often enjoy hearing Real Minnesotans and those with some very un-Minnesotan beliefs discuss Minnesota Winters. Those with some very un-Minnesotan beliefs will, very smartly and with every fact in their favor, complain about the awful winters in our state. Real Minnesotans will hear this and become incredibly defensive and dismiss all complaints, saying things like “Well, you don’t understand, it wasn’t this bad last year, this is just a fluke” or “Yes, but it makes you appreciate the summer that much more.”

I am a Real Minnesotan. I have said all these things. And you know what? It’s time to stop being so defensive about our legendary Minnesota Winters. We live here because it’s cold, damnit. I say love it or leave it. THESE COLORS DON’T RUN.

(photo came from here, btw)

Around Lake Calhoun on a Sunday afternoon

Who knows how many nice days we have left this year, so my friends and I took advantage of the wonderfully warm weather, and walked around Lake Calhoun. The wind on the north side of the lake was taken advantage of by windsurfers when we started around; I counted 10 surfriders out on the water, just booking across. The leaves were amazing. Who says you have to drive out of the city to look at the leaves? We have our own arboreal firework display right here in Uptown. Get out there and look while you can, the Winter Carnival will be here before you know it.

Asian Lady Beetles infest Minnesota (and my house)

Not only is the soybean harvest disturbing their preferred environs, yesterday’s extremely warm weather brought out the Asian Lady Beetles in full force…including at my house.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNtl37BKOwg[/youtube]

A quick scan of Twitter shows this is happening across the country.

Asian Lady Beetles are often confused with ladybugs, but ALB’s bite, leave yellow stains and smell horrible when disturbed. Mostly a nuisance, there are instances when thousands infest walls and attics and may necessitate pest control.

If they aren’t that serious, some patience, caulk and a good vacuum will get you through the next week or so.

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"Oh No You Di-int!" Quote of the Day: Racist Flood Coverage?

From yesterday’s STrib opinion Letter of the Day, in which Jeffrey Seyfert from Farmington tries to compare the recent midwest flooding to Hurricane Katrina.

The suffering that is being endured by our fellow Midwesterners is no less than the suffering of those in Louisiana. The difference is our fellow Midwesterners are picking themselves off the ground, brushing themselves off, and getting to work. Their first instinct is not to blame government; their first instinct is to help each other out and try to put their lives back together.

To which I say “PUH-LEAZE,” “Pfffft,” and “How much did you do to help, Jeffrey Seyfert?”

Bob Collins takes on the perceived bias at MPR’s News Cut blog, mentioning that this is not a unique opinion in the Midwest. Interesting stuff in the comments, including a really good response from a native Iowa Citian explaining how the two situations are not comparable at all except for the fact that they both involved flooding.

(And even though I disagree with some of the comments, the level of discourse is waaaaay above any comments I’ve read today at the STrib.)

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