Published January 21, 2024

Cold Adjustment

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
(Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)
(Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

A Slice of Life 

Weird how 0-10 degrees feels pretty good after a spell of below zero temperatures and “dangerous” wind chills. I call it a North Dakota heat wave.  

A bit much perhaps, but after a cold snap of several days like what was experienced throughout the state recently, a dose of warmer weather sure seems agreeable. Crazy how that works. Crazy to call even a few degrees above zero warm. 

Our weather can do that, cause a sort of attitude adjustment. Twenty below zero and windy is downright nasty. But hey, it puts complaining about 0-10 in perspective real quick. It’s not that 0-10 degrees isn’t considered cold, it is, but it is a nice improvement from that 20-30 below zero stuff. 

As a lifetime resident of this state and knowing full well what winter in North Dakota can bring in the way of cold and miserable weather, I was thoroughly enjoying our “warm” and mild days of December. Unseasonable? Certainly. But the El Nino predictions were spot on. 

Then came that awful cold blast that changes everyone’s life. Cars don’t start. Water pipes freeze. Pets don’t want to go outside. Roads get icy. Those walks from a parking spot to the door of a business are challenging. Fingers, toes, and ears are constantly in danger of frostbite. Sliding off a road into a ditch is life threatening. Enough. 

We know what real cold feels like and how it disrupts our lives. And now, with bitter cold in our rear-view mirror, our newly adjusted attitude is that 15-20 degrees is quite nice. Hey, the forecasts say we’ll even have temperatures pushing close to 40 degrees in the days ahead. 

No. That's not summertime weather but it isn’t the hibernating kind either. However, it will seem rather “balmy” compared to the miserable cold we recently experienced.  

Heat wave? Hardly. Just days much more agreeable than the sub-zero and windy kind. Should we give thanks to this past cold snap for putting our views of winter weather back into perspective? I’m not sure we need to go that far, but let’s enjoy what is going to go down as one of the mildest winters in North Dakota history. 

Winter is not over yet. We know that, but the hours of sunlight are increasing each month as the calendar turns to spring and summer. Those are the days when our current temperatures, no matter how “mild” they become, will then seem ridiculously cold.  

The ice will melt from our lakes and rivers, furnaces will give way to air conditioning, and people will return to campgrounds across our state. That is North Dakota and the wonders of definitive four season living, where the temperatures ranges from 30 below to 100 above. 

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