As I've mentioned before, the only good thing about frigid weather is there's no fear of snakes roaming the same paths as I do, or sharing the same shed, or even moving as fast as my bad knees can take me.
However, I care about as much for winter as I do snakes.
Yes, yes, I hear often people talk of the beauty of the snow and how much fun it is to be out in the white stuff.
When I see snow, I see slippery roads with more than a few motorists driving as if they're trying to qualify for the Talledega 500. Even some of those in four-wheel drives don't understand that there is no tire I know of that can prevent a vehicle from sliding on a solid sheet of ice. While I certainly don't consider myself an expert driver in the nasty winter weather, I have enough fear of others behind the wheel that I figure the less I'm out on the roads the better my chances are of making it to spring.
There were, however, some exceptionally beautiful scenery following the Christmas night snowfall. I also was very impressed with the local road departments' fast work on the main roads in the area. I've been in larger cities that did not respond near as fast on their roads as some of our communities managed.
I researched -- well, I Googled -- facts about bad weather and came up with the following tidbits of information:
* Wet air is actually lighter than dry air.
I learned this from, of all places, listening to ESPN during baseball season when it was explained that it was easier to hit home runs on muggy nights rather than crisp, clean air nights. I wanted to argue with the television until I looked it up.
* The largest piece of ice to fall on earth was a block measuring 20 feet across found on Scotland in 1849.
* A single snowstorm can drop 40 million tons of snow, carrying the energy equivalent of 120 atom bombs.
* Permanent snow and ice cover about 12 percent of the earth's land surface. Eighty percent of the world's fresh water is locked up as ice or snow.
* The average lifespan of a tornado is less than 15 minutes.
The one that hit my place in Northwest Arkansas a few years ago lasted maybe 30-45 seconds, but still managed to rip up a deck, uproot 11 large trees, and leave a heavy (about five pounds) John Deere tractor part in my driveway. Did I mention that I did not own a John Deer tractor, nor did my nearest neighbor about a quarter-mile away.
* Lightning is five times hotter than the surface of the sun.
* One lightning bolt has enough electricity to service 200,000 homes.
* The Greeks fenced off areas that had been struck by lightning so that man would not tread on ground touched by Gods.
* The largest hailstorm on record fell on Bangladesh in 1986, reportedly killing 92 people.
* A government study showed that one small thunderstorm held more than 33 million gallons of water.
* There are about 1,800 thunderstorms occurring at any moment across the world.
* Severe thunderstorms can produce hail that can fall at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.
My suggestion is to stay inside.