Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some thoughts about the weather

If you're reading this blog, chances are you're from out-of-state and you're thinking about moving to Missouri, especially Southern Missouri. You've heard a lot about cheap land and towns like Mayberry. You want to get out of the city and lead a slower-paced life. You're not thinking about the shopping mall you'll miss or the Starbucks or the Whole Foods Market. We do quite well without those things, but you, my goodness, what will you do without them? You're pampered and you're thinking about moving to the Ozarks? Think very carefully.

Also, you need to think about the weather. Our weather here is very likely different from what you are used to experiencing. Think about this before you move to Missouri:

It's colder than a well-digger's behind in January and February, and there's a certainty we'll get a snow or maybe two, and a good chance we'll get some ice. How would you like to wake up morning after morning and discover that it is several degrees BELOW zero. Add a little wind to that and you get a mixture that is deadly. I am not joking. People die outside in Missouri winters. Sometimes old people in the cities die inside because they have no heat.

In March, the weather vacillates. It can be beautiful and feel like spring one day. The next, you might get a foot of snow. It works on the nerves of people who didn't grow up here. This is also the month we hold the statewide emergency preparedness drill, because tornado season is just around the corner and the weather is fixing to get brutal.

April is also wet. If you like mud and flooding, you'll love April. Has anyone ever mentioned the flash floods we get in southern Missouri?

May has beautiful weather and you'll think your garden plants and your fruit trees are going to thrive this year for once, and then you can get a frost that wipes out your hopes of fruit from your trees, and you'll have to replant your garden.

June starts getting hot, and gives you hints of drought.

July and August are miserbly, brutally hot and humid. You hope for rain to cool things down, and sometimes you get a nice soothing shower. Then the sun comes out and all that moisture starts evaporating and the moisture starts saturating the air and you feel like you need gills. In the cities, people die in apartment houses because they don't have air conditioning.

September can be fairly nice.

October is usually gorgeous.

November is usually wet and overcast. I have lived through Novembers when the sun did not shine through the clouds one day. Can you live through an entire month of cloudy and cold, often rainy cold, days and still maintain your sanity?

December can be weird. I've seen 75 degree weather and I've seen sub-zero weather. Do you hope for a white Christmas, one that snows you in and keeps your family from coming to visit or keeps you from being able to get out to see anyone?

Words like moderate, temperate, mild are not appropriate when talking about Missouri weather. Brutal, bone-chilling, violent are the words we use.Missourians tend to be a little harder, i.e. more thick-skinned, tougher, even harsher, than transplants. Part of the reason we're a hard people is the weather.

In southern Missouri, combine the weather with the geology, rocks and poor soil, and you get even harder people, especially when you get out of the Springfield-Branson area and get over into south-central Missouri where there are fewer transplants and more natives or long-time residents.

Chances are good that if you move here, you'll be sorry. Just some food for thought.

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