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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Open winter

The subject of the mild winter came up last weekend.  With family patriarchs around the table I suppose it was inevitable.

My time and event continuum is tenuous; I’ll take most anyone’s assertion of a date and a fact as gospel.  My brother Walt said, apropos summer leapfrogging spring this year, winter was so mild twenty nine years ago he rode his motor cycle to work every day but one, when it snowed.

How did he remember that?  Well, the next year he was transferred to another city for his job. Oh.   Jan backed that up by saying Yes, that was the year mom broke her shoulder. Mom said “Let’s go home, Dutch,” to the Doberman, who immediately took her down Walt’s steps and through Walt’s motorcycle to get home.   And Walt’s motorcycle was on the sidewalk in December because he was still riding it to work.

I wondered if I could find out anything about that winter and asked my friend, Mr. Google.  He immediately sent me to a 1984 Ohio Journal of Science article devoted to the winter of 1982-83 in Ohio.  The winter was among the mildest of the 20th century, warm and rainy, record high temperatures set, due to the jet stream coming from the west and south west for the season, and warmed by El Nino. 

Another proven fact and it happened just twenty nine years ago.  I can remember mom calling some winter we all lived here an “open” winter.  It didn’t mean much to me at the time except to realize she meant it was mild.  I’m sure I won’t be lucky enough to turn up another Ohio Journal of Science citing some winter between 1988 and 1997 as mild, so we’ll take her word for it.

The term open winter may come from sea faring times, when the water was open, or ice free.  On the first day of spring here in Northeastern Ohio, our magnolia is open.  Completely unheard of. 

 I read in the morning paper that the seasonal ice cream stands are opening early.  Now that’s worth a look.


  1. I do believe we had similar weather in 82-83...our daughter was attending a private school that year and boarding with her grandparents. I wore my spring coat and shoes all winter and had no trouble with the long drive back and forth between the folks place and ours twice a week.

  2. I was still in the UK then...every winter is mild compared to here!!
    Jane x

  3. The winter of 1957-58 was quite mild, as well. My wedding was on March 30th and the church was so warm that I fainted. My younger brother's birthday was the month before. At his birthday party he received a badminton set as a gift. Since it was so warm and snow free, they setup the net and played out in the front yard. A reporter for the local paper drove by and stopped to snap a picture that appeared on the front page the next day. But, then I remember the year we still had snow well into April.

  4. Most seasons down here in OZ overlap each other its been happening for years :-).

  5. "My time and event continuum is tenuous" - so is mine, do you think it partner to the non-functioning left/right problem? The magnolia is beautiful.

  6. This winter in Minneapolis has been the warmest and least snowy in my memory...

    Can't wait for things to start to green up a bit!


  7. The term "open winter" is new to me. Ice cream stands - I know that one and if they are opening sooner all the better.

  8. I love the picture of your kitty. Has he caught any flying bugs yet? He looks like he aims to, once he gets through that screen :)

    It's been a very mild winter in Canada too. Fewer than a half dozen occasions that we needed to shovel the driveway. That's amazing for our area.

  9. We had a winter a few years ago when we didn't get cold or snow until February! And I'm talking Edmonton here! One car dealership offered potential purchasers their purchase free if we didn't get any snow before January 1. They almost went broke! Oh, the excitement!