The Garden City Telegram
10/9/2012
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Cold snap

Nothing new in weather shift interrupting another season.

Brrr.

As often happens in Kansas, the weather took a sharp turn Friday.

Cold temperatures arrived and continued into the weekend, leaving gardeners to snatch up fruits (and veggies) of their labor before the first killing frost.

The weather change saw forecasted high temperatures plummet from the 80s to the 40s, and more moderate weather normally associated with fall appear missing in action — even though we did enjoy a brief run of pleasant days before Friday's cold snap.

Likewise, spring this past year seemed to last just a few days rather than the scheduled three months. Searing temperatures took hold early in the region, and we endured a long run of days above 100 degrees in the spring and summer.

As for the more recent shift from summer to fall, this past weekend — about two weeks into autumn — we were digging out winter coats and watching snow fall in parts of northern Kansas.

Of course, there was one advantage to the cooldown. Allergy sufferers should welcome such change because it has a way of snuffing out allergens known to make people miserable for months — and this past allergy season was particularly painful for many.

Windy weather added to the suffering with more pollen and mold distribution.

Trees pollinated more quickly this past year due to earlier warm temperatures, which meant a fast start to the allergy season.

Plant pollens carried by wind trigger many nose, eye and lung allergic reactions, and hay fever sufferers in particular tend to suffer even more because of windy, dry conditions in southwest Kansas.

As for this past weekend, at least the precipitation in Saturday's steady drizzle was welcome. While it didn't make much of a dent in the drought that put the region more than 5 inches below the normal precipitation for the year, it didn't hurt.

And the forecast for this week signaled a return to warmer weather.

Consider it yet another reminder to expect the unexpected in temperatures that promise to bob up and down until it's clear winter — and its mixed bag of possibilities — settles in.