The Ice Saints

Hans-Georg's picture
Thu, 2011-05-05 07:07 by Hans-Georg

Let me tell you a little story from the Germanic countries. In Germany everybody knows about a sequence of icy-cold days in May, which are called "Die Eisheiligen" (the Ice Saints).

They even have names: Pakrazius, Servazius, Bonifazius, and "Die kalte Marie" (the Cold Mary).

Scientifically, if you calculate statistics over many years, they are not there, probably because they don't come on the same dates every year (the myth says 12th to 15th May), and in some years they may not come at all.

But this year they were early. They came already now, very early in May, and in full force. This morning there were ice crystals on the grass, bushes and trees, which we call "Rauhreif" in German (literally translated something like rough frost or just frost).

During the day we have clear blue sky without a single cloud, and temperatures rise up to 18°C in the early afternoon. Then they rapidly sink, until they again reach freezing level overnight.

The meteorological background is that there is usually a chain of high and low pressure cyclones that pass over Europe from west to east, leading to a sequence of a few days of wind from every possible direction. That includes a few days of wind from the north, and if weather conditions are right, the wind blows straight from the north pole and is as cold as you would expect.

This surprises us Germans every year again, because in May we often already get daily high temperatures above 20°C and can even sunbathe. After that, the freezing air is a shock.

I rode my little bike to work on the last few days and wore a thick headband, leather gloves, and a thin summer jacket. I don't need a very warm jacket, because cycling warms me up. When I ride off, I feel cold. Then I cycle a little faster, which makes me warm.

On my way past houses and under trees I ride in the shade, but later I pass a field in the glaring morning sun. There I opened up my jacket, because I got warm. Although the air temperature was not much above freezing, perhaps +3°C after the slight minus grades at dawn, the sun warmed me up very nicely.

In a month we will have summer, and temperatures will sometimes rise above 30°C. In their free time people will seek out rivers and lakes to cool down by swimming and bathing. But for now we can enjoy the sun and celebrate that the cold winter has passed.

Ice Saints

Mon, 2011-05-09 15:36 by daniel michna

.......und ich dachte immer Du kannst nicht radfahren...grins - Gruß Daniel

Laut google latitude hast Du es ja nicht weit!!!

Hans-Georg's picture

Mit dem Fahrrad zur Arbeit

Tue, 2011-05-10 15:08 by Hans-Georg

Ja. Es sind nur ca. 6-7 km. Ist doch nett, oder? Ein kurzer Weg zur Arbeit ist viel wert.

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