How do you measure winter?

Those of you who live in winter states, that is?

In the high desert we can have extreme cold – we’ve hit -20o since I’ve been here – but the weather tends to be episodic. Cold as hell at night, but you can usually sleep through the worst of it. Last week the temperature was rarely above freezing but for the past two days our afternoons have gotten into the sixties and it’s supposed to do it again today. Shirtsleeve weather.

So I think of winter as two months of wind-up, three months of cold, and two months of warm-up. Actual winter occurs between December and February. Which means we’re officially (me being the official) 2/3 through the cold weeks. This winter has hardly been worth noticing, but normally I start anticipating the warm-up in February and get aggravated and impatient for it through March.

How do you measure winter? What percentage of it is done for you, here on the first of Feb?


About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to How do you measure winter?

  1. abnormalist says:

    So, usual Michigan boy.
    Winter begins somewhere around October, and lasts until around April.
    First snow was late this year, made up for it in late December with a foot or two.
    January to February usually has at least one week where we never see the + symbol next to our temps, saw almost a week of that in December, but in January we had 50F temps. I lost all my ice for fishing!.
    Feb 1st, we have about 6″ of snow on the ground, nothing above freezing in the forecast, but still not the COLD I love. Usually mid Feb is the coldest part of the year, with random blizzards throughout march.

    So far this one has been an odd one. Nothing in October, or November, December dumped snow and cold on us, and kids were wearing shorts throughout most of January

  2. MamaLiberty says:

    I was thinking of this rather specifically just the other day. The actual weather is only part of it, and that can vary quite widely. We have had fairly mild, though dry winters the last few years, and this one seems to be an unusual combination. Only a few days with temps below freezing all day, and very few dips below zero night or day.

    My determination of the seasons pretty much revolves around the garden and the shooting range. Fall actually comes with the last things harvested. Winter comes along when the temp at night requires me to put cardboard sheets behind the drapes to keep in more of the heat. The first few nights that are warm enough not to need the cardboard, plus the first date in March safe for indoor planting of seeds to transplant in April or May… This signals the start of spring for me, no matter what the weather is outside. Summer comes when the first snow peas melt in my mouth… I seldom manage to get any of them into the house to do anything else with…

    Shooting season starts when the road to the range is not plugged (too badly) with snow or mud. Ends when there is too much snow to get up there. Nobody plows that road, and most of the other folks who use the range have 4wheel drive. Which I do not. Wish I did. 🙂

    February 2… Still snowing. still winter. Snowed in. 🙂

  3. don says:

    We are in a warm winter as far as they go for the mid atlantic so far. Winter usually begins early november and last to mid march. January and February we tend to get our snow, Usually we will get slammed with feet of it and it will melt off in a week. So as far as winter goes were on the back side here. Looking foward to spring. On a side note march is always windy and I am not bothered so much by the cold as the wind.

  4. doubletrouble says:

    Like ML, “…revolves around the garden and the shooting range.”
    Spring is when I start the garden seeds (inside- end of February);
    Winter starts when it’s too cold to comfortably recreationally shoot, &/or December thru February.
    Officially, here in NH the seasons are: “wintah, mud, bugs, & hot, but not for long, cuz then there’s wintah, agin”.

  5. Dean says:

    I also live in the high desert, albeit in Western Colorado. I pretty much look at winter like you do Joel. This year I’m recovering from some pretty significant injuries so the cold is a little more bothersome to me.

  6. Wyowanderer says:

    In Wyoming, we have two seasons: winter and construction. Construction season is June through August.
    Hope that helps.

  7. Joel says:

    Yeah, I saw that. The day I saw it, Wyoming (sadly) came off my short list of benign places to move to. 😉

  8. Anonymous says:

    The weather here in the Blue Ridge Mountains has been odd this year. A few days of near zero temps, snow and ice. Then record highs for a week or so, then the cycle repeats itself. Plays hell with the trees. They start to blossom out then get frozen.

  9. Mark Matis says:

    Winter begins here in Florida when the ()*&Q(*^% snowbirds blow in at Thanksgiving. It ends a few weeks after Easter when the last of those #&%$^ finally blow out of town. Spring ends on Memorial Day, when the lakes “get warm enough” to launch the boats. Summer ends on Labor Day when the weather “gets so cold” that people put their boats away.

    You don’t want to know the temperatures associated with “warm enough” and “so cold”. Especially with what you’re going through right now…

    By the way, how do you make your web software censor my wording like that???

  10. Joel says:

    It’s complicated, MM. 😉

  11. s says:

    For me, winter is about darkness. In the high latitudes, it is dark when I wake, dark driving to work, dark driving home. I might as well live in a cave.

    When the sun does shine it is low in the sky, pale and wan. It has no power, and barely climbs above the trees.

    I know the exact date when the sun stops shining on the north face of my home, and celebrate the day when it returns. The dark period between those dates is winter.

    Cold I can deal with. Layering works, and crisp clear air has its charms. But month after month of no sunlight makes S a grumpy old man.

To the stake with the heretic!