Some records won’t be broken

Published 12:41 pm Saturday, September 20, 2008

So the other day I was sitting in the Tender Maid Sandwich Shop enjoying a cheeseburger and thinking about a couple of important things.

Number one, how in the world is anyone ever going to beat “The Challenge.” I was full after two cheeseburgers and an iced tea. This bionic woman ate 10 cheeseburgers, chips, and then washed it down with a malt and eight glasses of water. She did it all in a half an hour and still had time for a smoke break. It reminded me of John Candy eating the “old 96-ounce steak” in “The Great Outdoors.” Cal Ripken Jr.’s record of playing in 2,632 straight games and Pete Rose’s mark of 4,256 base hits will both fall before “The Challenge” does. It just might be unbeatable.

So that was thought No. 1.

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Thought No. 2 was how soon before the snow falls.

I’m not trying to jinx the late-summer weather we’ve been having lately, but I was curious if it will be weeks or months before the temperatures drop, the ice scrapers are put to good use and the snowballs fly.

Will the youngsters have to leave the Karate Kid costume at home this Halloween in favor of a full-size Chewbacca outfit in addition to a winter coat, or will it be closer to Thanksgiving before the short-sleeved shirts hibernate for the winter?

Rumor this summer from people here and there was that we’re in for a doozy.

It will be cold, and the snow will be plentiful.

But then the 2009 Old Farmer’s Almanac arrived and stated the opposite. Temperatures will be above normal, and snowfall will be below normal.

So which is it?

Well, I went right to the source.

I reached a meteorologist by phone Friday at the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities. He was nice enough to take time out of his day and explain the complicated process of how extended forecasts work.

First, he said, the Farmer’s Almanac is correct as far as the temperature goes. Temperatures will be above normal for most of the winter. As for the snow, that is a little bit trickier to predict this far out.

He also noted that “normal” temperatures do not consist of the average numbers in Minnesota from the beginning of time. They don’t, for instance, include how cold it was when football great John Madden was born in Austin in 1936. The “normal” temperatures are a 30-year average. Also, the meteorologist said that “above normal” could mean only two or three degrees above normal, and doesn’t necessarily mean 50s and 60s.

So if you’re a firm believer in the Farmer’s Almanac, the snow will first fly this year somewhere around Nov. 17-18, the week before Thanksgiving.

Snow will continue through at least April, with temperatures the coldest the first half of December.

So that’s the forecast for now.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the late summer-like temperatures and figure out something for dinner.

Maybe I’ll take “The Challenge.”

And maybe this will be the first Minnesota winter ever without an inch of snow.