Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Debunking Mitch “Nanook of North Dakota” Berg

Whenever the mercury dips below zero here in Minnesota, two things are certain:
1. Minnesotans will whine about the cold
2. Mitch Berg, of Jamestown North Dakota, will mock said Minnesotans for being weather wimps on his blog and radio show

Here is what Mitch had to say about our latest plunge below zero:
Cold? In NoDak, we would consider wearing shirts in this weather.
Sheesh.

To hear Mitch tell it, this North Dakota place must be well above the Arctic Circle with temperatures regularly dipping into triple digits below zero. Unfortunately for Mitch, The National Weather Service keeps records of such things.

The mean temperatures in Mitch’s hometown of Jamestown, ND are 9 F in January and 15 F in February. The corresponding temperatures for St. Paul are 15 F and 22 F, a mere six degrees warmer. Six degrees is insignificant to anyone but the lamest of the lame weather wimps. Not only that, Jamestown actually gets less snow than St. Paul, an average of 0.62 inches of precipitation to l.02 in January, 0.52 to 0.78 in February.

But hey, you may say, Jamestown may not be that much colder than St. Paul, but it is colder and doesn’t that give Mitch the most cold weather cred in the NARN. Not so fast. The NARN member with the most cold weather cred is none other than King Banaian (sp?). King’s home of St. Cloud, MN has identical January and February mean temperatures to Jamestown, but has lower record cold temperatures. St. Cloud’s record low in January is -43 F and -40 F in February. In Jamestown it is a balmy -36 F and -35 F. St. Cloud also gets more snow than Jamestown.

Mitch, even you must admit that next to St. Cloud, Jamestown is a warm winter paradise.

UPDATE ON WINDCHILL:
A couple of North Dakotans have mentioned that the Peace Garden State’s wind tunnel-like winds make it seem much colder in North Dakota. Sure wind makes it seem colder, but so does the fact that you live in a desolate wasteland hundreds of miles from the nearest reasonably sized metropolitan area.

15 Comments:

Anonymous MBerg said...

Well, played, Sisyphus.

Except for one thing; you didn't account for wind, and wind chill.

The wind does indeed blow in St. Cloud. But it's a constant icy blast in NoDak.

Compare average winds, not to mention the relative levels of tree cover and other obstructions, and get back to me.

Minnesota wusses.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous mitch said...

Oh, yeah - and what form of mordida was exacted from you for those weather stats?

Jamestown's all-time record low was below -50, in 1936.

And "more snow" makes a place warmer, not colder. Snow tends to come from low pressure systems, which are warmer than highs.

Plus North Dakotans are better.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Sisyphus said...

I can't believe you played the wind chill card. Only wusses care about wind chill.

I did make a brief search for historical wind data, but couldn't find any. I will keep looking.

I believe the data I found covers only the last 30 years. You could argue that global warming has hit Jamestown more than St. Paul or St. Cloud, and that the NoDak of your youth was much colder, but that would be kind of lame.

And about snow -- note that St. Cloud has the same mean temperature as Jamestown DESPITE having more snow.

4:35 PM  
Blogger DiscordianStooge said...

So where's the picture of Mitch outside with no shirt on last weekend? Since he's so tough and all.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from North Dakota and even before reading Mitch's response comment, I thought of wind chill. It's WAY colder in ND than here. I feel like I've moved to the tropics and can't stand the whining Minnesotans.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Berg said...

What Anon said.

Show me a North Dakotan in the Twin Cities who has even FELT genuine cold since they came here.

You can cherrypick out-of-context stats until Terry Keegan 86's Mr. Koster; fact is, the only challenges to winter in southern Minnesota are idiot city drivers and the risk of insanity from all of you pansies kvetching every time the thermometer dips below 20.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Nihilist in Golf Pants said...

A couple of points:

1) NIGP policy and common courtesy strictly prohibits displaying a photo of shirtless Mitch.

2)The idea that '"more snow" makes a place warmer, not colder,' is not logical. Fargo gets more snow than Pheonix.

3) Wind chill assumes exposed skin. It probably isn't very smart to expose much skin during extreme cold spells. Therefore, wind chill doesn't have much impact. It's one of those Paul Douglas fictions that allows weasely weathermen to scare people. Wind chill allows Paul to hyperventalate about below zero temperatures an additional 50 days each year.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Berg said...

Nihilist speaks like a true Minnesotan; as Father Murphy used to say, ad rectum.

2)The idea that '"more snow" makes a place warmer, not colder,' is not logical. Fargo gets more snow than Pheonix.

I see you got your logic, spelling and meteorology in the same place.

3) Wind chill assumes exposed skin. It probably isn't very smart to expose much skin during extreme cold spells. An additional 50 days each year.

You're pretty smart for a Minnesotan! Unfortunately, you need to pull your head out of Joe Soucheray's butt; wind affects more than just exposed skin (although things like faces and eyes do count, right?). It sucks heat out from under clothing if you're not careful. If you're wet or sweaty (say, like all of you NIGP guys when the City Pages comes a-callin'), it accelerates evaporative cooling. It strips away the thin film of convected body heat around you, unless you're wearing proper clothing.

But I reiterate the challenge; find me a North Dakota native who feels any differently about Twin Cities weather - or, better yet, show me a Twin Citian or St. Cloudian who's moved up there and feels warmer.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Sisyphus said...

Berg says:
“Show me a North Dakotan in the Twin Cities who has even FELT genuine cold since they came here.”

True, but that is not attributable to the weather, but to a little something we like to call “Minnesota Nice”.

Cherry-picking out-of-context stats? You mean obscure weather stats like TEMPERATURE? You are the one who wants to adjust the standard stats for things like wind chill and snow warmth.

Here is a tip for nostalgic North Dakotans stuck in the all too warm Twin Cities: Go down to the University of Minnesota and walk between the Hospital and the Moos Tower, you will get plenty of wind chill there.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Berg said...

Go down to the University of Minnesota and walk between the Hospital and the Moos Tower, you will get plenty of wind chill there.

Um, yeah. 1000 square feet of aerodynamic compression vs. thousands of square miles of wind-blown deep freeze. Good comparison. Boy, I hope you don't work in engineering or anything like that.

Cherry-picking out-of-context stats? You mean obscure weather stats like TEMPERATURE?

TEMPERATURE gathered in Saint Freaking Cloud. The observers were probably hung over and passed out in pools of their own vomit.

that is not attributable to the weather, but to a little something we like to call “Minnesota Nice”.

You warm yourselves with passive-aggression?

What is the latin word for non-sequitur, again?

11:28 AM  
Blogger Nicko McDave said...

So now there is a market for pictures of a topless Mitch Berg with his nipples firm and erect from the cold.

Truly, the internet is a most disturbing place.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous mlp said...

Folks, I grew up in Minneapolis, back when we had real wintes. I spent an eternity of winters during my three years in Jamestown, Nodak and I spent half a decade in the frozen wastes of Northern Montans.
North Dakota is colder than anywhere in Minnesota ever has been, I don't care what the mercury says or what the records are. Only wusses care about wind chill? Only someone who has never been knocked off their feet by the incessant gale that blows non stop over that flat North Dakota landscape would ever make such a stupid comment. I got so used to compensating for the wind that never ends, that when I would come back to the twin cities to visit, I would fall down, throwing my weight against the wind that wasn't there. I lived in a house on the edge of Jamestown, near the resevoir, unprotected by the valley in which most of the town was situated. Cold? You don't know cold. At night, it was so cold and so dark that you could easily mistake Jamestown for deep space.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous john f not kerry said...

"At night, it was so cold and so dark that you could easily mistake Jamestown for deep space."

That could be said for the whole state of North Dakota. And I've only visited there for short periods of time!

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Berg,

After NIGP goes to meteorology school, so should you.

Snow reflects energy, making the place colder, clouds act as insulators, and snow insulates the ground, so I guess we can see how you might get that confused, but it doesn't do jack to insulate the air.

An actual meteorologist, not you, once said that snow usually means a 5 to 10 degree decrease in ambient air temperature all things being equal. Which in the end supports your claim, as ND must be one desolate hellhole if it can average 6 degrees colder than St. Paul without having any snow - so you're right it's colder, but not for the right reasons.

2:48 AM  
Blogger K-Rod said...

Let's compare Jamestown with Tower MN. The coldest Tower has seen was -60 F. That is very cold. The coldest I have been in is about -54 F. Northern MN has been below average spring this year; just had another frost the other night, again.

As for wind chill, compute that number when you are snowmobiling across a lake in the cold. Start at say 50 MPH and increase in 10 MPH increments.

So yes both are cold, MN is colder, but that damn ND wind must get old. That explains a lot about then NoDak folk, especially since Mitch claims that he doesn't own a hat.

4:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home