Sunday, January 12, 2014


Hi, this is Darlene Franklin here. On January 12th, only a short time after Nelson Mandela's death, I could talk about the 1907 recognition of Transvaal's government by Britain. I might ask if we could imagine the football playoffs without the forward pass, approved in 1906.

Winter in Iowa
Instead I read that Washta, Iowa, had a temperature of 47 degrees zero on January 12, 1912. Of course, this year, we have experienced extremely cold weather. So I thought I would write of a more pleasant January weather phenomenon.

I grew up in Maine. We had the coldest weather of the season in January. At a time when schools required dresses and the style called for short skirts, my legs turned bright right from top of my boots to the bottom of my skirt. My nose ran, and it froze on my face. Taking in breaths of the frigid air hurt my lungs.

But every January also brought the relief of the January thaw, about a ten degree rise in temperatures for a few days around the last week of January. Snow would thaw, icicles would melt, and I would enjoy a few days of relief.

In 1950, temperatures by twenty-five to thirty percent instead of ten. Cotton bloomed in South Carolina, five months ahead of schedule. On January 25, 1950, Ann Arbor, Michigan, enjoyed seventy-two degree weather.

Flooding after thaw
Minneapolis, Minnesota, enjoyed fifty-eight degree weather in 1944. A few citizens were brave enough to take a dip in the lake. The Thaw has brought about temperatures above fifty degrees eleven times since 1891.

Other January thaws of note:

  • 1900 One day thaw in Minnesota saw temperatures into the forties and fifties.
  • 1890: The reigning "January thaw" high was set on January 11.
  • 1884: An early February thaw saw massive flooding throughout Pennsylvania's Ohio Valley.
While we are experiencing extreme cold, let's look forward to a few days of warmer weather, when we hope the thermometer will rise above the freezing mark.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly hope you are feeling better, Darlene. An interesting post on the January weather. We live in CA so were cool but certainly not frozen by any means. I prefer the sunshine and warmer weather to winter freezes! sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com