Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Winter in St Louis Keeps Me Warm <-- See What I Did There?

Please don't count me as a fan of Winter. Ignore the fact that I love the holidays, fireplaces and the sudden plethora of clothing options. After you make fun of me in your head for a minute or two, forget about the way I jump around the house from window to window during the first good snow of the year. Instead, think about what sucks. Gloomy days, if you can even constitute 8 hours of daylight as a "day," tend to suck some of the life out of you that could have been well used on jumping around the house looking at frozen water crystals falling from the sky. Think about the week following a snowfall where the left over slushy snow turns wintery shades of black and grey. And then, of course, don't forget the bitch of them all, the cold.
Oh yeah, cold likes to mess with you. Right now it's the middle of October and 45 degrees feels pretty effing cold. You're all bundled up in a coat like you're hunting Sasquatch in Canada. But if this were January and the temp was 45, we'd all be running around in T-shirts like we're hunting Chupacabra. See? Jack Frost is straight up effing with us. And that's exactly what makes St Louis so great.
Once the shock wears off and we get used to the temperature, Winter is a fairly quick and harmless yearly ritual for St Louis. I say this comparatively, of course. I'm sure the Winter just seems like the Winter to native St Louisans, but to a Chicagoan it's awesome! It's as if Winter is just getting started and never gets to full strength. What is usually a good 4-5 months of demoralizing, snowy and blustery hell for Chicago is only 3 to St Louis. You have no idea the difference that makes unless you can do math. If you can't, the difference is 1-2 months. Metaphorically it's much bigger, though.
Actual photo of actual Chicago snow

Consider this; The average snowfall for St Louis in January is 5.4 inches total. Total! In Chicago that's fairly run of the mill for one snowfall! Average for the month in Chicago: 11.2 inches. A pretty large difference.
Still, even with so much less snow, St Louis is affected by snow more than Chicago. 3 Inches and the schools close down. The streets of Soulard never get cleared as far as I've seen. So maybe it all evens out? Nope.
The average high temperature in St Louis in January (the coldest month) is 39 degrees. The average high for Chicago in January doesn't even hit freezing! 31 degrees. My point is that even when it does snow in St Louis, and the city ridiculously grinds to a halt, the snow rarely lasts more than a few days. Meanwhile, in Chicago the snow-covers last weeks at a time. Psychological advantage: St Louis.
Here it is in rudimentary graph form:
You'll notice the only place Chicago and St Louis are tied is in the number of days in January.
The real trouble you get in a St Louis winter is the threat of ice storms. They happen fairly regularly here and although I wouldn't go so far as to call ice storms demoralizing, they do shut down a city something fierce. I suppose a shutdown city is good for at least one profession... Super-villain. They love that shit. For the rest of us though it's just the price we have to pay. A day or two stuck at home relaxing...
Anyway, St Louis, as you gear up for some good old fashioned winter depression, think about your neighbors to the north and then point and laugh. They have the Cubs AND worse weather. Things aren't so bad.
*Please note that I still love you Chicago. To prove it, I'd like to reenact a scene so common in movie relationship spats. Here goes... "Don't you dare shut me out" Annnd scene.