Cold and Snow

Episode #745

May 13, 2023


South Bend, Indiana, is the target of an artificial snow belt.


The snow belt is created when cold air blows over Chicago encountering cloud making thermal pollution from power plants along Lake Michigan. Those clouds are seeded by the coke smoke stacks of Gary, Indiana’s steel mills. This dumps snow directly on the University of Notre Dame. BTW, don’t eat the brown snow.

For this Southern California boy the snow was interesting, entertaining and sometimes annoying. My fellow midwestern students laughed at me when I made my first snowman. I knew nothing about making a snowman and it showed.

One morning in the cold and snow I walked out to my car with an armful of books. I juggled my keys with the books, temporarily putting the keys in my mouth. The keys stuck to my lips. This was so new to me that I pulled the keys away, tearing the skin of my lips.

Five of us lived in a house off campus. In the middle of winter we ran out of heating oil. The oil vendor required full payment for filling the heating oil tank. It was the middle of the month and none of us had the cash to spare. We could, however, run the electricity since money from home would arrive before the electric bill came due. Between the five of us we owned four electric space heaters. We would rotate all the heaters into one of our rooms, then, when the room was warm, the other four would take the heaters into their rooms. It was up the the odd man out to go to bed and get to sleep before his room chilled. One night it was my turn to be odd and I got right to bed as my housemates removed the heaters. About one AM I woke up shivering and thirsty. I went into the living room. We were in the habit of leaving jackets near the front door to loan visitors so I put one on. I walked over to the coffee table and picked up a water pitcher to pour a drink. The water in the pitcher was frozen.

I live at 3600 feet MSL in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California. Some of my friends call the area mountain desert, but because of the altitude the weather is temperate year round and the terrain is mountain chaparral. We are usually under the snow line, but not this year. We have received as much as a foot of snow and the average temperatures have been between 30° and 50° F.

Our home’s 220 electric space heater is very expensive to run, so we have harvested Ironwood, Red Shank and Manzanita deadwood from our property to burn in the living room stove. The stove does a great job of heating the house and it has only cost us time and a few scratches to harvest the wood.

Snow in Southern California does have a treacherous aspect. My sister lives in Lake Arrowhead, CA. There has been nine feet of total snow accumulation, with 10’ drifts being common, from the series of storms which have plagued the San Bernardino mountains this winter. This amount of snow and cold is deadly. My sister has been lucky that neighbors have looked in on her and made grocery runs, but she has been trapped in her home for months.

Mother nature is indifferent toward humans. She can entertain, play tricks and threaten lives while only doing what she does naturally. Enjoy what you can of these weather phenomena, but beware of the consequences of insufficient caution.

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One Response

  1. Victor Spindler May 12, 2023

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