|By Mitch Smith, Chicago Tribune|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The short answer: Quite possibly. But that depends on age and perspective.
"It's been phenomenal," McNett said. "Some of the days I was out (and it was) 20 below with the wind chill. No shelter for me. I like the cold."
But for those whose hobbies don't involve traipsing across frozen bodies of water, it can be harder to find the silver lining in this season's historic chill. And if this is the nastiest winter you can remember, you might be on to something.
A few cold, hard statistics:
--If you're younger than 35, you've never seen
Point is, this year has been pretty darn rough. Historically rough. And the combination of heavy snow and extreme chill means there's a case to be made that this is the toughest
"To folks who are young, this will be the worst winter they've seen," said
"This is very extreme. It's rough. It's not pleasant," said Konicek, 43. "There's cold -- and there's cold."
Konicek, who works out of a home office, said she has stayed inside for days at a time this winter rather than walk a couple of blocks in the elements to a coffee shop.
"This is not a bad year," he said. "There's a lot of bad. (In) '82 and '83, the cold was just unbearable compared to this, even. There's been worse things."
He also recounts stories of towing car after car in the late 1970s. So if youthful workers at his Zion auto shop start complaining about this year's weather, the boss is likely to set them straight.
"I've got all young employees, and they think this is so bad," Whitmore said. "And I go, 'Boys this ain't nothing.'"
Even for lovers of the cold like McNett, the competitive ice fisherman, there can be too much of a good thing. While the sustained chill makes it easier to find a good spot to drop a line in a pond, deep ice can block sunlight from hitting the water below, meaning the pond ends up without the oxygen needed to support its life forms.
Hope, however, could be on its way in the form of a long-term forecast. High temperatures are expected to remain in the 20s and 30s through the long weekend, according to the
Temperatures may well plunge again after that, the experts said. But in the throes of the worst
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