West central Minnesota has spent the last 10 days or so in the longest and coldest stretch of the winter season, along with and the rest of the state. Daytime highs across the region seldom got above 0F with the wind chill values dipping well into the subzero range of -30 to -40F.
In other words, it was darn cold, even for Minnesotans.
There was, of course, a little grumbling among our Minnesota Nice population. And there were news reports of the frigid cold and its dangers. Pet owners were urged to take care of their pets. Farmers and ranchers still went out to feed and water their livestock. Some people found out it was time to replace their car batteries due to the frigid cold temperatures.
But west central Minnesotans and the rest of the state pretty much took it in stride and we survived. Our friends and relatives on the West Coast and Texas would call or text us and ask "How can you live there?"
Then Mother Nature took its revenge with a significant dose of snow and ice falling across Oregon and Washington. Both Portland and Seattle were under winter storm warnings over last weekend, with freezing rain turning to ice and significant snowfall. Some areas of the Pacific Northwest received over six inches of snow, which they were not prepared for. Higher elevations, of course, saw up to three feet of snow. However, the Pacific Northwest did not freak out like some other states.
Then there is the manly state of Texas that has been devastated by a deadly cold weather wave that has shut down much of the state.
For most of the week, much of Texas has been experiencing some snowfall, icy roads, below freezing temperatures and an electrical grid failure. This has resulted in unheated homes and businesses, bursting water pipes and failing water pressure, and ice-filled roads making travel dangerous.
These frigid weather conditions caused a crescendo of other problems as well. COVID-19 vaccination centers were forced to close, some COVID-19 vaccine inventories were endangered due to the loss of electricity and refrigeration, firefighters had to battle frozen hydrants and low water pressures, a death of power generators, and, finally, a high demand in emergency rooms as patients desperately sought dialysis treatment and oxygen supplies. Hospitals are also facing broken water pipes and electrical outages of their own.
Then you have the privileged who left their beloved state of Texas, like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who flew his family out of Houston Wednesday to Cancun, Mexico, to escape the cold. His wife just could not deal with her cold house and they had to get "out of the state." After the political backlash, Cruz himself soon flew back to Texas on Thursday, but his family stayed in Cancun. He claimed he was being a "good dad" and just taking his daughters on a quick trip since they were out of school for the week. You betcha, Ted.
As any Minnesotan knows, cold weather is no joke and should be taken seriously. At least 38 people have died nationwide from winter storms or frigid temperatures in the last 10 days.
Living in Minnesota is not always easy, but Minnesotans know how to live and prepare for winter. And, finally, most Minnesotans know how to drive in icy and snowy conditions . . . meaning you slow down, don't slam on the brakes and keep a safe vehicle distance.
And, finally, for the most part, we Minnesotans are not laughing at those snowy iced-up Texans. After all, they live in their own little world where oil is king and everything is bigger and better in Texas, right? Though in recent days there has been a Minnesota Nice chuckle or two watching the news.
This editorial is the opinion of the West Central Tribune Editorial Board, consisting of publisher Steve Ammermann and editor Kelly Boldan.