Winter is coming. Map 151 is AccuWeather‘s forecast for this upcoming winter and it isn’t pretty for most of the country. Everyone outside of the extreme South was probably preparing for Winter already but news that it will likely be colder and more stormy than average is disappointing. Last year’s Winter was quite manageable here in Minnesota so we were due for a temperature slide. AccuWeather says that slide is likely to be 6-9 degrees on average with occasional potential overnight lows of 20-30 degrees below zero. Other parts of the country could be dealing with a potentially worse problem; Winter storms. New England could have frequent storms while the Pacific Northwest is labeled with ‘stormy start’.
As a Minnesotan, I can tell you snow is by far worse than severe cold. Both cause their own problems, of course, but snow affects travel and traffic. There is a reason I like to live close to work and it’s not just convenience on a regular basis, it’s to keep my Winter commute to a minimum. I dislike driving in the snow and ice because it’s dangerous. I’m a talented driver (in my own not-so-humble opinion); it’s the other drivers I’m worried about. If I can safely drive the speed limit or just below, the storm isn’t that bad. You’ll see, however, slow-pokes going 20mph below the limit on the highway causing other vehicles to go around them (or slow down significantly). Conversely, you will also see drivers of big trucks and SUVs speeding past much faster than the limit. Slow-pokes and idiots make it very dangerous for everyone else. I got into a minor car accident in February 2015, in fact, because a car lost control in front of me on my way home from work. There was nothing I or anyone else behind him could do but pump the brakes and slide on the ice into a collision. He slid into one car and did quite a bit of damage. I slide into another car as we both tried to avoid the first collision and luckily my car was spared (nothing but a bent license plate).
If you are thinking it may soon be time to hunker down with six months of supplies (you’re not alone) but remember the map is just a forecast. Weather forecasting is a difficult field with a lot of data-backed guessing. “AccuWeather doesn’t claim to have a crystal ball, but is making broad evaluations of what we can expect from the next several months based on prevailing atmospheric trends”. So you see, the forecast might get your area’s projection wrong (it could be worse).
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Map 152 is no longer relevant. I found it in August and saved the link for use in this series. I then forgot about it until now when it is no longer of practical use to anyone. There is still entertainment or educational value, of course, so here it is anyway. This map is of the Minnesota State Fair, which took place between August 24th and September 4th this year. I-Heart-Radio (formerly Clear-Channel) the added all the Pokémon Go locations from the popular game.
The Great Minnesota Get-Together is a huge attraction every year (the largest State Fair by average daily attendance) that is widely regarded as one of the top State Fairs in the United States. You may also have heard about the cultural phenomenon that is Pokémon Go. It was absolutely everywhere this Summer! Both kids and adults were caught up playing a mobile version of the long-popular game that brought Pokémon monsters into real-life (kind of). Players walk around their neighborhoods using their mobile device to track and capture Pokémon. They then battle their monsters against those of other players for fun or for control of ‘gyms’. All the hotspots (called Pokéstops) and gyms are labeled on the map as a way to show potential State Fair visitors the potential of spending a day at the Fair. The red symbols also indicate where players could charge their phones for free as this and other mobile games are usually murderous on battery life. It does involve use of a smart phone or tablet but because players needed to get out into the real world and walk around (exercise), the game was popular with parents too. Some friends of mine played it quite often earlier this year but I’m not sure if they still actively play. The game has lost many members but it still may be quite popular. So yeah, this map may be no longer relevant but it is still interesting.
I’ll be sure to get the State Fair related content out before it’s long over next year, I promise.
Until next time,