Frozen food, Northern Wedding, more weather folklore, blizzards

KIMBALL – Just in case you weren’t paying attention – and let’s face it, you weren’t – March is National Frozen Food Month.

No, I wasn’t paying attention either. It’s a little hard to keep up with these “National Month” observations. In addition to celebrating/observing the wonder of frozen food in March, we also observe and celebrate:

Irish American Month

Music in Our Schools Month

National Craft Month

National Irish American Heritage Month

National Nutrition Month

National Peanut Month

National Women’s History Month

Red Cross Month

Social Workers Month

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Among others. Whew.

Frozen food month is more a marketing gimmick than anything else. From the National Frozen and Refrigerated Food
Alliance website:

NFRA and promotion sponsoring brands are helping to drive consumers to the frozen aisles with the 2018 national program for March Frozen Food Month. Brand activations across multiple platforms and diverse elements across the marketing mix create a successful model for consumer engagement and excitement around the frozen
food aisles. 

Despite the fact that Frozen Food Month is a marketing ploy, it’s probably worth spending a few moments to think about and appreciate the concept and practice of preserving food by freezing. We take our food supply for granted, but from time to time we should be thankful for the farm-to-table food infrastructure we have. Try to imagine how different your life would be without refrigeration.

Here’s a bit more weather folklore. In Norway it is said that as the weather goes on March 9, so it will be for the next 40 days. That’s probably a fairly solid prediction in Norway, as much of that nation lies above the Arctic Circle, and across the southern half of the country much of the weather is driven by relatively steady and predictable North Sea currents and winds.

I have a lot of fond memories of Norway. I flew from the carrier to Stavangar back in the early 1980’s. I was flying a medevac mission while our fleet and NATO forces were engaged in an exercise called Northern Wedding. The carrier battle group actually operated from the confines of Vestfjord, which was quite a trick. At any rate, we got weathered in at Stavangar’s Royal Norwegian Air Force Base, and I quite enjoyed the stay. It was the first time I ever had herring and fried eggs for breakfast. It seemed a strange combination to my Nebraska ranch boy sensibilities, but fish and eggs can be quite tasty.

How would the 40-day prediction work across our Tri-state area? At Kimball over the last century-and-a-quarter March 9 has averaged a high of 48 and a low of 21, with precipitation averaging 0.03 inches. There’s been a lot of variability, though. The warmest March 9 saw temperatures reaching 78 degrees in 1972, and the mercury plummeted to minus 8 degrees in 1924. As for precipitation, in most years March 9 is clear, dry, and not infrequently windy. In 1992, though, March 9 produced a genuine (albeit short-lived) blizzard. When the snow finished falling on that day a total of 14 inches had accumulated, containing 1.15 inches of liquid moisture.

Just for comparison, the Blizzard of ‘49, which came in January, delivered 19 inches of snow, just five more inches than we saw on
March 9, 1992.

The March 9, 1992 blizzard conditions certainly didn’t persist for 40 days. A warming trend rode hard on the heels of the blizzard and all 14 inches of snow had gone in less than a week.

This year the weather is predicted to be warm and spring like today (which is March 9, if you’re reading this on publication day). Grass and winter wheat are already greening up across the region. The next 40 days are sure to hold both warm and cold days in store, both rain and snow, and both calm and wind. This isn’t Norway.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try herring and eggs for breakfast.