Home > Miguel Iturria Savón, Translator: Tomás A. > Coats, blankets and chocolate

Coats, blankets and chocolate

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Since the last days of December we Cubans are living with coats, blankets and hot chocolate. The women barely wash. No one turns on their cold shower. We save water and squander cologne. The teenagers don’t meet in the parks. The streets are nearly empty. It’s possible to get a seat on the bus.  The meteorologists have become prophets.

The change in habits is due to the low temperatures.  The cold waves arrive from the north like the remittances from exiled families.  Although no snow falls, the thermometers range between 21 and 33 degrees Celsius above zero; it is 15, 12 and even colder in places like Playa Giron (4.5 degrees on January 7), Ciego de Ávila (5.2), Fallas (5.4), Caibarién (10.7) y Bainoa, where on February 18, 1966 it registered the coldest ever in Cuba (0.6 degrees), still unbeatable according to Dr. Jose Rubiera, Director of the Forecast Center of the Meteorological Institute.

The expert believes that the records are normal for the winter season and are below previous statistics, but we Cubans have fragile memories and we are so used to the heat and humidity that the slightest drop makes us shiver. He says that in winter the nights are clear, less cloudy and the temperatures tend to drop, while they rise during the day.

He advises that it is less common to have low temperatures extended for many days; this has affected the succession of several cold fronts due to low temperatures in the northern hemisphere, where it fell below zero in Florida in the United States; there were strong winds in Europe and snow in a southern country like Romania.

The meteorologist explained that this is not due to global warming, because climate change is a process that occurs over long periods, a long-term phenomenon unrelated to variances from one year to another, or within the same season.

I agree with Dr. Rubiera. Don’t panic or pay too much attention to the prophets of doom, because global warming is an increase in global temperature, not only with hotter summers but with less severe winters.

Our winter is delightful. On this island a Canadian or a Northern European feels now like he does in summer in his country. For them, the tropical climate is a paradise in December, January, February and March. Tourism rises in those months. In a few weeks, when the thermometer rises to 25 or 30 degrees Celsius, we will be nostalgic for the cold of January. Then we will store away the blankets and coats.

Translated by: Tomás A.

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