By Brent E. Frazier, mayor
City of Pelican Rapids

A recent meme entitled “Year at a Glance” depicts a circle cut into pie-shaped portions, of which each portion represents a month of the year.  

Of course, each portion is not of equal size as the summer months portion are small in size, and the month of January is by far the largest slice of the pie. All of this references that the summer months pass by so very rapidly due to the warm weather, and January passes by so slowly due to the frigid weather of “below the donut” temperatures. 

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, January 23 is the coldest day of the year by average, as six months later on July 23 we usually witness the warmest day of the year.

So in saying all of that, everyone in favor of an old-fashioned “January Thaw,” please raise your hands!

A January thaw has origins in New England folklore and is defined as a name given to a mild spell in places where temperatures are typically below freezing most days.

During this time frame, there are usually two or more consecutive days with maximum temperatures above 32 degrees F.

While it does not occur every year, with the normal variations in temperatures and fluctuating weather patterns & jet streams, most Januaries do have at least a few warmer days.

In saying all of that, we could conclude that the days during the past weekend would qualify as a January thaw.

When the winter of 2022-23 set into our region in December, we experienced many days of below-zero temps and frequent snow accumulation.

The people of Pelican Rapids could be seen walking around in stocking hats, heavy-lined coats, and warm mittens. The sound of snow blowers, Bobcats, and payloaders echoed throughout the city as residents removed snow. 

It seemed this cold snap could be a winter for the record books back then, but that all seemed to change soon after Christmas.

That does not mean that the Spring season is right around the corner, as we still could experience a harsh winter in the two and a half months to come, but this cold and stormy weather reprieve has seemed to shorten the winter, at least in our minds, as it lifts our mental and emotional spirits to ‘get us through until Spring.’

Living here in west central Minnesota has its ups and downs when it comes to weather conditions, but overall we can consider ourselves to be blessed as compared to many other regions of the United States.

Recent newspaper headlines in the southeast have read: “Picking Through Ruble After Tornadoes Tear Through the Southeast,” “Deadly Tornadoes Leave Waves of Wreckage in the South,” “NWS Confirms 2 Tornadoes in Spalding County Georgia Including EF-3” and “At Least 8 Killed as Severe Weather Sweeps the South.”

In the southwest we read: “Wild Weather Swings are Robbing California of its’ Trees,” “Heavy Rains Lash Los Angeles as Evacuations are Ordered in Montecito,” and “California Storms Bring More Heavy Rain, Flooding and Power Outages.”

The devastating results approach with little to no warning.

Ample warnings are usually given to us in this region of the country when snowfall, blizzards, and extremely cold temperatures are on the horizon.

For us veterans of cold weather, we usually know what to expect and give our favorable advice to the new residents in our community who have recently relocated here from warmer climates.

So after reading those newspaper headlines of the devastating weather in other regions of our country, we really have nothing to fret about, especially with our recent January thaw.

Although there are no guarantees of mild weather for the remaining part of the winter months, we have made it through one-half of January, and we can see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”

All of those in favor of another old-fashioned “January Thaw,” please raise your hands once again!!