Weird weather is nothing new

Published 6:56 am Sunday, January 21, 2018

You know the weather is weird when you leave Oxford for a snow skiing trip, and temperatures are hovering in single digits, and it has been that way for days, but when you land near the Rockies, it is almost 60 degrees.

Truly, it was so cold in Oxford for so long these past weeks that the single digits didn’t seem abnormal at all and it was completely predictable that it would be warm for stops in Colorado and Montana.

Consider how strange it has been in Mississippi this year: Natchez, that Deep South river city that’s more prone to mossy trees and soggy heat than winter storm warnings has had not one snow of several inches this year but two.

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Even Jackson, our state’s capital, had its largest snow in years this year, getting multiple inches on the ground before winter had officially arrived.

In Oxford, our Northern Mississippi hamlet, it’s been more about the cold. It’s finally poised to let up, returning to more normal January highs and lows of the mid-50s and low 30s.

Thank Goodness. Since about Christmas, we have been in an unusual deep freeze that hasn’t let up. Plumbers have been busy with frozen pipes, and tire shop employees have been lamenting those automatic sensors that keep telling us we need more air.

Some of us have tried to avoid the air pump, hoping for a more southerly flow that would warm up our tire air. Fortunately, that’s now in the long-range forecast, so better driving is ahead.

Still, these extremes are head-turning. Add up the strange weather from record heat in the summer to Houston’s historic flooding to record cold and snowstorms in strange places and it’s clear that Mother Nature is on a roll.

Of course, we have had extremes before. In the late 1800s New Orleans received a big snow and Batesville, Oxford’s neighbor, set a Mississippi record in that same storm with some 15 inches of snow.

Before anybody said the words global warming, Hurricane Camille came along with extreme weather, just as we had seen temperatures at zero and below in Oxford before.

But the truth is that we have one beautiful world and it seems wise to be safer now than sorry later. People try to turn it into a political argument, but there’s nothing political about it. Or, there shouldn’t be.

Hard to imagine that lower global carbon emissions would be anything but good.

But back to the moment. Things are already getting back to normal. Looking out across Big Sky in Montana, with the sun glistening off the snow, it is as if you can see all the way home to Mississippi.

Tall timbers are sturdy under the bluest backdrop, and temperatures have regulated, with highs this weekend at the ski resort in the low teens, while Oxford is more reasonably in the 50s.

It’s all awe-inspiring, the beauty of the earth and the might of atmospheric pressures that create our weather, from the mountains of Montana to the hills of north Mississippi.

And, we are blessed to get four seasons in most of these United States. It’s just that so many extremes this past year has been a little unnerving.

David Magee is publisher of the EAGLE. He can be reached at