An Acquired Taste

An Acquired Taste:

An Overview of the Albeitian Climate

9/12/08

Kenneth Burchfiel

 

    In most towns—even those that consider themselves a cold-weather location—the winter coats only come out from late fall to early spring. In Albeit, however, parkas, jackets and fleeces can be seen on coat hangers and seatbacks year round. Not that the citizens necessarily wear them.

    There is one thing especially that surprises visitors to Albeit: just how cold it can be at any given time—not just the winter months, where convenience-store thermometers have been known to “run empty” or drop below their scale, but in the summer, too. The first shopping trip for fall tourists is often the jacket store, if only because they didn’t believe the weather sites.

    Albeit does not have a climate as much as it has an eight-month winter and an “offseason.” Snow has fallen here as late as June and as early as September; even in the months that comprise what Albeitians call summer, temperatures have been recorded in the mid-thirties. These are abnormalities, of course, but not too far off the beaten meteorological path.

    The second thing that surprises visitors, however, is how accommodating the city is to the subzero temperatures. One would expect that Albeit residents have come to despise the cold air that occupies nearly every day of their lives, yet few seem to mind. It’s hard to explain just why, though given that 80 percent of Albeitians have lived in Idaho all their lives, most have rugged enough skin to handle the cold. Besides, anyone with an aversion to cold weather would have moved out by September.

    Temperature is certainly the defining point of Albeit’s climate. But meteorology goes far beyond the thermometer, and it would not do justice to skip over the city’s other climate characteristics.

    One look at a satellite map reveals that Albeit doesn’t get much precipitation. Areas to the south and east appear lush and green, but there is no mistaking from above that the city receives little rain down below. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions. Heavy snow loves nothing more than to track directly over the city, dumping upwards of a foot before disappearing over the mountains. Ski country is some distance away, but Albeit tides themselves over with mammoth sled ramps (meant for adults, too) that thread through some of the city’s byways. For the most part, however, the Globe’s weather section displays many more suns than they do clouds. Enough suns to cause an average of three major droughts per decade.

    Day-by-day weather excluded, Albeit’s weather seems to be twins with Idaho’s as a whole. Winds and pressure are variable, but manageable. The risk of tornados is minimal—and that of hurricanes and volcanoes, all but zero. Local stations in Du Bois and Rexburg often post the exact same readings as does the console at Albeit International; in a portion of the state that’s known more for its farming than for its mountains or forests, there are few microclimates. Rather rarely gets more severe than the occasional hailstorm.

    It may seem pointless to write an article about Albeit’s weather. One need not understand orographic lifting or anticyclones to know that the city is usually cold come July and iced-over come December. What justifies the word count are the citizens’ reactions. These residents, instead of walking around with parkas and quilted jackets burying their features, dare to step outside in minus-ten weather and raise their arms to the sky. For them, the weather is not just a source of snow and rain, but of pride.

There goes an idiomatic saying in the city: “You’re not an Albeitian until you get hypothermia and fail to notice.” That joke goes a long way towards describing the climate here—and how citizens react to it.

    

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