I hate to belabor the point but the cold has been uppermost on most people’s minds over what seems like the entire month of January. It’s been cold. I can’t remember a similar winter when a true arctic blast blows in each week dropping temperatures into the single digits.

By Alabama standards it has been a frigid month. We’ll have more confirmation that we have endured a prolonged cold snap when the power bills hit the mailbox sometime soon.

After a dusting of snow and some treacherous roads earlier in the week, it looks like we will get a break this weekend when temperatures climb near the 60-degree mark on Saturday. Don’t get too pumped up, winter is far from over. At least one national weather forecasting service — Wunderground.com — predicts the area is in for a big snowfall the second week of February.

If the forecast is correct, we’re in for a doozy. Thank goodness it’s almost two weeks out and things change. The Wunderground forecast Tuesday morning indicated we could get anywhere from 8 to 14 inches of the white stuff.

I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ll admit, it might not be so far fetched to think about now with South Alabama beaches coming off two bouts of ice and snow within the past week.

No doubt, January 2014 will go down as one of the coldest ever. We’ve got company when we moan, groan and complain. Even our neighbors to the north, where they’re used to cold weather, have had it rough. It’s been colder than normal in the Midwest and Northeast. Like Alabama, schools have been closed or morning openings delayed in many states due to wind chills in the dangerous range. In many parts of the upper Midwest wind chill readings of 30-50 below zero have been the norm this year.

Still, Southerners are the brunt of jokes.

We hear things like, “you don’t know what cold is,” or maybe, “that’s shirt sleeve weather.” Then, when there’s a little snow and ice, it’s, “they don’t know how to drive.”

Cold is relative. When the body is used to daytime highs around 50 degrees and overnight lows at about freezing, you’re doggone right it’s cold on days that highs are lower than normal lows and lows are dipping into the single digits or low teens. And, by the same token, it’s cold up north when temperatures are running 20 to 30 degrees below normal.

I got a kick out of a Weather Channel comparison that showed just how cold it is in the coldest cities in America. According to data of the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. the coldest are Minneapolis, Minn., Anchorage, Alaska, Madison, Wisc., Milwaukee, Wisc., and Omaha, Neb. No matter the city listed in the Top 20 on the chart, the temperature is chilly.

The Weather Channel information is based on the average daily temperature. That’s the difference between the day’s high and the low.

The rankings are based on the average from Dec. through Feb. In Minneapolis it is 18.7 degree. Anchorage comes in at 18.8 before you get to a balmy 21.6 in Madison and 24.9 in Milwaukee. In Omaha the average is 25.9.

So, dang right, it’s cold out there this winter. And, now we’ve got that Wunderground.com forecast to look forward to the second week in Feb. Hang on to your hats and gloves — winter’s not over yet.

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