Perhaps a quick visit to Africa might be in order . . .

With a trembling in my bones, I’ve just realized that this weekend and early next week are going to be the coldest temperatures I’ve ever experienced in my life.  I’m an African boy.  I grew up used to summers with heat up to or exceeding 100° Fahrenheit (38° Celsius:  sometimes rising as high as 120°/49°).  Winters very seldom dropped to below freezing, and when they did, it was only by a few degrees, and not for long.  Snow was a once-in-a-decade thing, and then only in a few cities.  It would literally stop traffic, as everyone got out of their cars to catch the few falling flakes and marvel at it!

When I first came to North America, on a seven-month work-related visit in 1996, I landed in Toronto, Canada, in a snowstorm and sub-freezing temperatures.  My sinuses instantly quit in protest, and for the next three weeks I was barely able to whimper at the chill.  I spent several weeks in what was allegedly spring in Canada and the northern USA, with snow on the ground, ice not uncommon, and a frozen African body screaming with every fiber of its being, “Take me back to the Namib Desert!”

Since then I’ve experienced sub-freezing temperatures on quite a few occasions, along with snow and the occasional ice storm.  The coldest I’ve ever known (and that only late some nights, for short periods while outside) is about 15°F/-9°C.  However, Monday is forecast to get down to a maximum of 9°F/-13°C, and Monday night the mercury’s supposed to fall as low as 3°F/-16°C.  Up in Minneapolis, friends of ours will be facing a low of -19°F/-28°C.  (One of them is scheduled to fly here on Monday.  All I can say is, I hope they manage to break his plane loose from the ice floe so it can try to take off!)

In one of my favorite pubs in Swakopmund, on Namibia’s coast at the lower edge of the Skeleton Coast, it’ll be in the balmy 70’s to 80’s Fahrenheit over the weekend and into next week.  It’ll be twenty to thirty degrees hotter further north and inland.  I think this is the perfect weekend for a visit there, and a nice cold Windhoek lager . . .



  1. We recently had high temps of -10F/-23C and it really isn't that big a deal if you wear a good coat, have some decent gloves, and wear a hat. Some people do even more if they go outside. 🙂

    It helps that I have a coat that gets too warm if the temps get up into double digits above zero.

  2. And I hate to rub it in because, frankly, I could use it to cool off a bit, but it has been unusually warm here in central Florida. Today was one of a few days below 50F since last March: 46 this morning, and the forecast for the coming week doesn't show any temps below 39.

    It's not unusual for it be in the upper 20s this time of year. Much more rare, but not unheard of, is 20 or slightly lower.

  3. I refuse to live anywhere it doesn't get below freezing routinely. 70F is Too Hot. And please take the sun away.

    Cold is doable with the right clothes and equipment. Heat…well, I'm not a real fan of states of undress.

  4. Looks like it's 3 deg F out right now, with a projected low of -8. But (indoors of course) it's never too cold for beer: Notch Brewery's Session Pils and Session Ale went well with fish tacos for dinner. Despite putting all kinds of insulation on, and around the frame of, the basement door (actually at ground level, house is built into a hill) it's still cold enough in that corner to keep beer at refrigerator temps.

    Around here I usually don't bother with a hat in winter unless walking more than a few blocks, but today was an exception. I even broke out my "new" Marmot synthetic fill jacket I'd bought three years ago. Despite weighing very little, that thing turned out to be just too warm to wear even in 20F weather. Today at about 5F it was just right. Pity it gives me the approximate body profile of The Great Successor, though. (Should I be looking out for packs of ravenous dogs now?)

  5. Second the motion on the beer.

    Currently in a Newfoundland blizzard, winds up to 65 mph., doors drifted shut with accumulated snow…but the Alexander Keith's IPA is cold and the fridge and pantry are full.

    So we're hunkerin' down here…. til about April.

  6. You probably wouldn't care for central Oklahoma. I have pictures to prove a low of -13 and a high of 114 in the same year.

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