Weather report: It's winter. (Photo by Steve Pokin)

OPINION |

On Tuesdays, I’m the breaking news reporter for the Springfield Daily Citizen. I had to decide early if today’s conditions warranted a weather story.

I concluded they did. Here’s my breaking-news weather story for Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.

For this account, I did not call the National Weather Service, and I did not refer to the swirling, lava-lamp weather maps I saw on TV this morning.

First of all, let me report that it’s cold. About 16 degrees. My car told me it was 18, but KSMU reported 16 and a digital billboard I drove by said 17.

But then you probably knew it was cold out because, after all, it’s winter.

It will probably go up 6 or 7 degrees during the day today. As you’ve probably learned by living, temperatures typically rise during the day.

You probably also knew schools are closed

Most, if not all, of the schools are closed. But you probably knew that by now, too.

The way I figure, if this story posts by 9:30 a.m., you probably weren’t waiting for me to tell you schools are closed. Odds are you already knew. If not, I bet your kid wasn’t going to school anyway.

Early this morning, before I was even out of bed, I received a text telling me the Missouri State campus in Springfield is closed today. Our office is on the MSU campus.

The importance of that text, for me, is that the Foster Recreation Center will be closed, so I won’t be able to run indoors. Not that I need to run indoors on a winter day like today. But it would have been an option.

When I receive these MSU texts, it comforts me to imagine that MSU President Clif Smart rose early in the morning, drove the roads, and then sat in his breakfast nook at home, a cup of coffee in hand, then texted me and everyone else to let us know the university is closed.

Yes, I know, that’s not how it works.

I’ve found that cars are easier to control when you drive slower

When I first got out of bed this morning, I turned on TV and watched the young weatherwoman stand before vibrant, moving, garish colors that, to me at least, always suggest Armageddon.

My car sits overnight on the driveway. On most mornings, I am met with ice or sleet on the windshield. Not this morning.

My street and one more side street had a light covering of snow.

Maybe there was ice underneath. I never found out because I drove slowly. Over the years, I’ve learned that a car is easier to control when you drive slower on snowy roads that might be icy.

Main roads seem free of potential doom

In two minutes, I was on Sunshine and the roads were July Fourth free of potential doom and when I parked at Missouri State University there was only one other car there.

It was at the far end of the lot where no one usually parks, and its lights were on so I imagined that President Smart had sent someone there to make sure that I, and others like me, were safe.

It’s a four-minute walk from the lot to the Springfield Daily Citizen.

The walkways along the quadrangle had been salted. The employees who do this were merrily buzzing about in their little sheltered utility vehicles, waving to me as they passed.

Wind seems to be from the east

I can report that the wind is from the east. I’d guess maybe 10 mph. I noticed this as I walked across campus.

Even though no one had advised me to do so, in response to the wind, I grabbed the zipper of my Gore-Tex winter coat that I’ve had for 30 years and pulled it up another inch or so — as far as it would go.

I’ve discovered over the years that zipping my winter coat all the way up cuts down on heat loss. A knit cap helps, too.

So I made it. I survived.

And that concludes my weather report.

This is Pokin Around column No. 95.

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Springfield Daily Citizen. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at spokin@sgfcitizen.org. His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin