Weak-ass pale winter sunlight that bounces off of the snow stronger than it actually signs. Still it's a first step. I've been thinking of the phrase 'dead of winter', what would make a good quasi-objective definition of the term. Well, let's say that the 'winter season', if not winter proper, begins with the first solidish precipitation of the fall, be it snow, sleet or whatever. The 'Dead of Winter' then begins on the first day where the daytime high is below twenty degrees Fahrenheit and ends on the last night that drops into single digits Fahrenheit. How's that?
I read the NYT article last week about the jet streams unusually dramatic dip to the south explains why the last two American winters have been unusually harsh, at least by modern standards. I remember that in my childhood and youth Nebraska winters were simply not that bad. 'Alberta clippers', those northern blast-fronts we've been constatly bombarded with since the week before Christmas, were once-a-season rarities. There were only five or six days out of the whole year that were truly bone-cold: Usually it was merely chilly, somewhere in the twenties or thirties, nothing that one couldn't be perfectly comfortable in as long as he had his gloves wool hat and the rest, and even this was broken up by frequent southern thaws pushing temps up into the fifties or sixties.
This shit right here fucking sucks, is what I'm trying to say. But it will be back into the lower thirties this weekend. It's February now and maybe this will be the last time it drops very far below that. Maybe this is the last week of the dead of winter. Or maybe not.