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Autumn Fades…

November 10, 2006

One of the things most people back home ask about is the weather here in Bismarck. And frankly, it’s what everyone up here talks about as well. We were warned as soon as we arrived–regaled by tales of friends-of-friends who had been trapped overnight in cars during blizzards. Our earliest months in North Dakota were spent building a winter wardrobe, because we knew that our South Carolina winter clothes weren’t really winter clothes, because South Carolina doesn’t really have winter.

Fortunately, our first winter here was very mild, one of the mildest on record. We only had two weeks of sub-zero temperatures, and that was enough of a taste for me. Almost exactly a year ago that cold spell hit, and I went to work on at at least one morning when the temperature at 8 in the morning was 16 below, without wind-chill. But otherwise, it wasn’t terribly cold. And we got very little snow.

Even the sub-zero temps weren’t as bad as I expected. It isn’t just talk that the lack of humidity greatly affects the way we feel the weather. All the same I know we’ll eventually feel the full force of a North Dakota winter. So we’re ready–we’ve got block heaters in our cars (you plug your cars in at night up here), we’ve got warmer, more complex coats than we’ve ever owned, the kids have snow pants and mittens and hat and scarves and other protective gear.

But it’s not actually the winter I can’t get used to. I know we’ll be sub-zero. What I can’t adjust to is the lack of transition here. The weather is fickle in a way I never experienced in SC, where I thought the weather was pretty changeable. But this week, the first full week in November, has boasted some beautiful weather. Monday and Tuesday saw temps in the 60s, and the high on Wednesday was 71. The high Thursday was 40, and that was reached sometime before 9am. Most of Thursday the temperatures hovered around the 27 degree mark, nearly 45 degrees colder than the day before. Tonight, Friday, there’s a chance of snow.

It keeps you on your toes, anyway. Even if those toes flash freeze overnight.

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