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The Mexican winter of 2010

Our friends & family up north (like my parents currently experiencing -29F/-34C windchills in Grand Island, Nebraska) are sure to appreciate the latest weather developments from Mexico City. I was slightly amused tonight (Thursday) reading tense articles on www.reforma.com about the impending weather doom expected to hit the city ASAP.

Apparently Mexico City is expecting RECORD BREAKING low temps this weekend, the likes of which have not been seen since 1886. (DF is really focused on breaking records these days.) It sounds much more dramatic in Celsius: 4C in the city and down to -5C in higher areas. (a.k.a. 39F and 23F for those of us who are Celsius-illiterate)

Late this evening, the Secretary of Public Education announced after much debate that schools would NOT be suspended tomorrow (Friday). The subhead on that news article was “Piden a padres de familia que manden a sus hijos a la escuela, pero bien abrigados”— “They ask that parents send their kids to school, but well wrapped up.” (I think the article is subscription-access only on Reforma, but here’s the link just in case it works.)

That line was my second favorite only to the quotes in the article regarding how the Government of DF declared a “maximum alert” due to the drop in temperature & expected freezing rain/sleet. The Secretary of Civil Protection did a nice job of working in some commentary regarding climate change, for any skeptics out there:

“‘Por el cambio climático, existe la posibilidad de un fenómeno meteorológico inédito, dentro de lo que cabe, incluso una nevada en el centro de la Ciudad’, dijo Brizuela.”

“Due to climate change, the possibility exists of an unprecedented meteorological phenomenon, all things considered, includes snowfall in the center of the city.”  *

But the one John most enjoyed, after telling me about a few winters he spent running outdoors in sub-zero-fahrenheit temperatures in Minnesota & Iowa, was:

“Si la temperatura es por debajo de los 5 grados, se tiene que evitar hacer ejercicio al aire libre, ya que puede haber un enfriamiento, y si se tiene un cuadro de infección respiratoria, no se debe salir a la calle, pues no sólo estará en riesgo su salud, sino la de otras personas, además de evitar automedicarse.”

If the temperature is below 5C, you have to avoid exercising in the open air, since you could have a cold, and if you have any respiratory infection characteristics, you should not go out to the street; not only will you risk your health but that of other persons, besides avoiding self-medicating.”  *

To be clear, I don’t mean to trivialize the valid risks of freezing weather in a city where most homes do not have heaters & plenty of people do not have homes, period. And given the standard day-to-day traffic in Mexico City + my experiences driving in cities that only get freezing precip a few times a year (talking about you, Dallas), I can’t even fathom what new circle of hell would be unleashed on the roads of DF during sleeting rain.

But despite all of that, I will admit to being just slightly bemused since this response to a weather forecast tops even that of Dallas for wussiness. (Rest assured that when the city is in frozen lockdown this weekend, I will post an apology for my smugness.)

* crappy, vague Spanish translations courtesy me

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  1. Nancy says:

    I think it is all in perspective, that’s all. But I have been amazed by the number of gringo bloggers in Mexico who have been bitching about it being 57F or 60F or whatever.

    We are having a “frente frio” in Mazatlan right now, but 60 at night just makes it good sleeping weather in my opinion, and 80F is still great with me in the daytime!

  2. Julie says:

    Agreed Nancy! It is amazing how quickly your body adjusts to 70F+ as the default temp… :) But yes, until we have a couple feet of snow and subzero fahrenheit windchills, I am keeping the whining to myself (and avoiding any exercise just to be safe- ha!).

  3. Leah Flinn says:

    Being from Ohio, I always find this amusing as well. But it’s important to keep in mind that most Mexicans do not have any form of heat in the their homes, so that can make even temps in the 50s feel extremely cold.

  4. […] su temperatura inicial es de 229C y despues de una hora baja a una temperatura de 90C. …The Mexican winter of 2010 Midwesterner in MexicoI was slightly amused tonight (Thursday) reading tense articles on http://www.reforma.com about the […]

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