Brad Messer Commentary
8:15 a.m. Friday, Feb. 7, 2003

Is this a blue norther? Ask fifty people what a blue norther is, you’ll get fifty-one different answers.

It’s when a front makes the sky so cold it turns extra-blue. It's a cold front that turns your nose blue. It’s a north wind that drops the temperature at least 30 degrees and causes a hard freeze.

Up in the Panhandle in 1850, a blue norther pinned down a railroad survey party. It was so terrifically windy and cold, the surveyors just hunkered down immobile. As a joke, they named that spot Zephyr. A zephyr is a light, Summer breeze. A little town grew there, just east of Brownwood. It’s still there.

The Weatherpedia describes a Blue Norther as “a swift-moving cold frontal passage ... marked by a dark, blue-black sky ... that may drop 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit in a few minutes.”

The Cowboy’s Dictionary defines a blue norther as “a blizzard, a bad storm.”

A blue norther packs enough punch to lower Texas Gulf Coast bay temperatures ten degrees, and drives all the trout off into deeper water.

An early Texan wrote a letter to a friend back East: “The weather here is terrible. Yesterday one of my cows died from a heat stroke, and while I was skinning him a blue norther blew in— and the other cow froze to death!” Now that’s a blue norther!

Brad Messer— commentary, KTSA.

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