-40 DEGREES

Saying good morning to a pleasant foggy, drizzling morn, woke up to 50`, but I just read about an arctic blast dropping down into the States bringing -40` to Bismark. May the Lord give us enough to endure what every load we have to carry.
Speaking of -40` I remember hitchhiking from Portsmouth, NH to Rochester, NY one spring and one of those arctic blasts dropped down for a visit bring -40` with it as me and a fellow Marine were on the road with a 72 hour pass in our pockets. It got so cold that the beer in out get-away-bag was freezing. So what could we do but hurry up and drink them before they froze so hard we could not. There we were on the side of the Turnpike, thumb out, and drinking slush ice beer in one of the worst arctic blasts had hit that part of the world in years so early in spring in anyone’s memory.  This was a true blizzard with winds hitting well over 50 mph.
The trees had already sent their sap up into their trunks and limbs, and as the cold set in it froze them, and with the freezing the sap expanded causing them to explode. When the smaller limbs started going off on either side of the highway it sounded just like a firefight on either side of us, and as the night went on and the bigger limbs started they sounded like mortars and Claymores going off. Then in the early morning the sap in the trunk has expanded enough to blow the whole tree down with a boom that sounded like 105 Hollister or a 155 artillery piece depending upon the size of the tree. The trees booming and crashing down and the limbs’ cracking and popping it sounded like a Marine Division MLR (Main Line of Resistance) throwing everything it had at an assulat. The only thing missing was the light of a good firefight.
For it was pitch dark with the only lights coming from the occasional car or truck passing by. The snow was falling at over an inch and hour, and the wind was a whipping adding its howling to the chaos of the frozen trees exploding and dying. We should have frozen to death that Friday night, but the Good Lord did not see fit to take us that night, instead a car picked up and got right up behind a semi and follower inches from its back right on into Rochester.
That was a hard year for Maple Trees, over half of them died during that storm in that part of the world. I heard over the radio that it had dropped to 40 below during that night.  This is a link to Wikipedia’s story about the storm I am talking about Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962.
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Published in: on December 4, 2013 at 10:31  Leave a Comment  
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