At this moment, the temperature difference between Saint-Aignan, where I live now, and Urbana, Illinois, where I lived for several years in the 1970s and still have good friends, is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And this is despite the fact that Saint-Aignan is several hundred miles farther north than Urbana.
According to the weather widgets on my Windows desktop, it's 0ºF in Urbana right now — that's extremely cold but far from unheard of — and it's +50ºF here in the Loire Valley — unusually warm for early January but, again, not unheard of. (For the Fahrenheit-challenged, that's –18ºC in Urbana and +10ºC here in Saint-Aignan.)
Autumn in the village
It's been interesting to listen to the reports on the French TV news about the current cold wave in the northeastern U.S. The other day, Claire Chazal on TF1 reported, in vague terms, that temperatures in New York and New England were « en dessous de zéro » ("below zero"), which was, she said, the coldest they had been in decades. People here might draw the conclusion that Chicago, New York, and Boston lie in a tropical climate zone, if those are unusually low winter temperatures.
Chazal was talking about degrees Fahrenheit, but must not have been aware of that fact. In degrees F, "below zero" is frigidly cold. But zero on the Celsius scale is equal to +32ºF, so "below zero" in Celsius might be, say, +30ºF. That's not very cold in New York or Boston. People listening and who were thinking about it must have been mystified. In fact, the temperatures were (and are) –25ºC in places like Chicago today.
I'm worried that all that cold air might end up crossing the Atlantic and putting us in the deep freeze here in the northern half of France in a few days.
As I said yesterday, this week I'm just publishing some old photos taken in the village we live in, outside Saint-Aignan. These were some of the photos we contributed to the mayor's slideshow.