A dense, soaking fog. A burst of camphor from the dunes as winter takes an intermission and allows a misty, warm morning: this is the lead-in to a cold front, but as warm as it is, high 70s, one would be forgiven for thinking it is spring if not for the faded grasses and flowers.
Winter in Southeast Texas: a string of t-shirt days punctuated with crashing cold that comes in wet and windy to chase you indoors. We are spoiled here with our mild winters and we let everyone who doesn’t live here know it.
Still, when these Blue Northers barrel in, we grumble as if we have been visited with the weather progeny of the Antarctic. We wrap ourselves in layers, drink copious amounts of fancy coffees, hot chocolate, or alcoholic beverages, and light roaring fires like our homes were log cabins in the Midwest. How we suffer!
And don’t think it is just the “native” Texans complaining. I’ve spoken to many a transplant from those northern climes who moved here specifically to escape icy, miserable winters and they are often the first to yowl, “I moved here to get away from the snow!” when once in five years we get 3” of snow that melts by noon on the same day.
Ice storms in the south are the worst but thankfully not common. They are treacherous for people who either never learned how to drive on ice or have forgotten how. And local governments are never prepared for the road conditions. Any given ice storm can produce over 1000 car accidents in Harris county (Houston proper) alone in a 24-hr period.
So, as this storm approaches, as the camphor wafts from the dunes and comforts me like my mother dabbing a skinned knee, I am both looking forward to the coming chill and leery of the risks these winter weather changes bring. This front promises only a brief storm line, cold nights (by our standards), and stunningly gorgeous, dry sunny days to follow. There will be no ice or snow this time. All in all, while locals look in awe at the forty-degree temperature drop this front brings, it’s going to be a beautiful week ahead. It’s Texas, y’all.