Friday, January 07, 2005

WHAT'S THE WEATHER LIKE?

The winter fashion in Cleveland is distinctive. Not for Cleveland the jauntily perched berets, Cat-in-the-Hat stovepipes, or other trendy headgear. In the middle of a Cleveland winter, only one thing matters:
Is as much of my head covered as possible? Particularly the ears.

Cleveland winters are different. We seldom have the long, unbroken freezing temperatures that create blinding white mounds of snow seen in Fargo (the movie). Such winters, however cold, are relatively dry.
Cleveland, on the other hand, cycles between huge snowstorms that paralyze the city for a few days, followed by unseasonably warm spells that melt that accumulation, followed by freezing rain and ice. Not necessarily in that order.
Those cycles begin sometime in late November, and continue until sometime in March (sometimes April). As a result, our weather forecasters are all professional meteorologists, not cute blondes that giggle. When we wake up, we need to know what the day will be like.
A good winter day in Cleveland is one that doesn't start with the need to shovel the drive, chip off the windshield's ice, or wrestle with the car door's locks. Whether that good day is one in which the local schools close depends on whether you are:
  • a child (yeah!)
  • a parent (oh, no!)
  • or a teacher (yippee!)

Winter is the reason that Cleveland is often considered a bad place for singles. How can you impress the opposite sex when you are bundled head-to-toe for about 1/3 of the year? When to walk around in midriff-baring shirts is foolish even in May (our spring storms are pretty cold, too). To wear expensive high-heeled boots is to risk a broken ankle in the unshoveled walks. Uggs aren't a fashion statement, but a sensible boot. About the only single-friendly activity we have in abundance is drinking (that alcoholic glow does make the windy dash to your car less daunting).
So why live in Cleveland? Well, along with our quirky winter changes, we also have summers that fluctuate between warm and sunny to thunderstorms followed by a drop in temperature. So, the heat of summer is seldom in evidence for long periods. Instead, we have relatively warm weather, but with periodic breaks in high temperature. It keeps the climate from being energy-sappingly humid.

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