December Thaw

Five days after the winter solstice and following two weeks of frigid weather, a December thaw has developed in central Missouri.  A southerly wind, courtesy of high pressure over the Southern Plains, is sweeping warm air into the Heartland, melting our glaze of ice and pushing afternoon highs near fifty degrees F.

In concert, the jet stream has moved northward, temporarily blocking further reinforcements of Canadian air.  For a few days, we'll enjoy this winter respite, completing chores that were put on hold while Arctic air gripped the region.  Outdoor recreation has also regained favor and a host of walkers, bikers, joggers and hikers have taken to the trails and roadways.

Indeed, pampered humans now rejoin the wildlife that, by necessity, remained active during the recent Arctic invasion.  In our eyes, they seem to relish the mild conditions as much as we do; in fact, while their physiologic stress is surely reduced, these wild creatures are governed by instinct and have no ability to ponder the change in weather.  In that respect they are less stressed than many humans who cannot fully enjoy this December thaw without worrying about the winter storms to come.