Friday, July 19, 2013

Weather Myths

Some of you may have noticed that in the United States weather patterns tend to move from the west to the east. If you tell me it's really hot in Nebraska today, I will deduce that it will likely be hot here in Illinois tomorrow or so. I don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Another thing you might have noticed is that it gets really hot in the summer pretty much all over the United States. Normally this isn't news. It's really only news when the hot weather gets to New York. Because that, after all, is where the news people live.

So hot weather is in the news because boy is it getting hot in New York. My wife and elder daughter are there right now, live on the scene, and they can confirm the reports.

But we in the Midwest saw this coming, of course, because it's been scorching hot here for about the past week. Here in Chicago the last five days have had highs of 91, 93, 95, 96, and 94. At the blog's other headquarters in Minneapolis it had been just as bad in the four days ending yesterday: 89, 92, 94, 94. The heat finally broke today in Minneapolis, and it should break tomorrow in Chicago.

But Slate blogger Matthew Yglesias looked at today's high of 84 in Minneapolis and came to some false conclusions:
When I say you should move to Minneapolis, I often get weather-related objections. But check out today's heat map and you'll see the news isn't all bad for the Twin Cities in terms of weather. I wish I were there right now.
Yglesias apparently hasn't noticed that weather systems in the United States move from west to east. I can't say I blame him, since he's spent his whole life on the east coast, and the only weather news he hears is when his own home area is having a weather event. But this idea that Minneapolis is a temperate paradise during the summer is quite misinformed. Here are the facts:

July Hi Jan Low
New York 85 26
Chicago 84 15
Mpls 83 4

So, winters are terrible in Minneapolis, bad in Chicago, and okay in New York. But the summers are the same in each city.

Conclusion: Contra Yglesias, there is no weather-related reason to live in Minneapolis—unless you love long cold winters, as some Minnesotans have, bless their hearts, convinced themselves that they do.

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