Climate Derange

“It can't beat us!" Pa said.
"Can't it, Pa?" Laura asked stupidly.
"No," said Pa. "It's got to quit sometime and we don't. It can't lick us. We won't give up."
Then Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter
Chad W. Lutz
Living in Ohio guarantees you three things. Well, four, really: death, taxes, extreme disappointment in your sports teams, and an agonizing and prolonged winter. No matter the year, especially when it comes to our sports teams, Ohio proves a greyed over destitute landscape of never-ending winter hassle. It gets so bad sometimes that we greet the Vernal Equinox wearing, not shorts and t-shirts and sunglasses, but parkas, hoodies, hats and gloves.

Believe it or not, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the freeze-free period for Northeast Ohio lasts only 160 days. In some cases, much like what we're experiencing this year, that period can be shortened to as little as 125 days. For the southern portions of the state, the freeze-free period may last as long as 180 days. On and directly near Lake Erie, however, that timeframe can extend into 200 days or more due to heat and moisture retained by the large body of water. Mean annual temperatures fall around 49 degrees in Northeast Ohio and hover around 55 degrees in Southern Ohio.
A local Ohio man takes time to talk about his favorite season.
(Picture courtesy of Google Images)
The national weather organization also reports: "Ohio is one of the cloudiest places on the planet during winter months." During the month of December, Ohio experiences sunshine only 30 percent of total daylight hours. June through September boasts only slightly better returns on UV, roughly 60 percent sunshine, with July holding the most clear days (six to eight, on average). Ohio calls home to some of the densest and thickest ground fogs found in the state, averages of more than 90 inches of snowfall every winter, nearly two inches of average precipitation per month, and that lovely weather anomaly known ever-so-lovingly as Lake Effect Snow. Kinda makes you all warm and tingly inside, doesn't it?

And yet, every year we all appear to be played for fools. We experience a winter thaw in the middle of January and all of a sudden there's talk of an early spring. One or two days of solid, warmer weather gets us jumping around like we've never seen the sun before and people start to act as if spring was three or four weeks late. But it's never that early. It's rarely ever been that early. We don't get the luxury of consistently nice weather during January, February, March or even April, most of the time. We, usually, get hammered with snow in late December, thaw out around the first of the year, start to believe warmer days are just around the corner, and then experience eight weeks of absolute snow torture and frigid mayhem.
One of Ohio's time-honored pastimes: Ice Scraping.
If time has served any testament to the fortitude of our people, one thing is for sure. It takes a certain breed of patience to stand up against weather so erratic and so unpredictable you wonder if the weatherman isn't pounding Jack Daniels just off-screen before she delivers her nightly report. No matter how desolate or depraving Ohio winters may be the people of this great state weather all weather. Be it tornado in October or thunder snow in November. Whether the ice sheets melt and flood the lands or 100-degree heat waves furnace our cities for weeks on end, Ohio stands up to its weather. But seriously, spring, if you could just get here already, that'd be great. We'd really just like to see the sun sometime this year.