In many ways, weather is about establishing mettle. Here in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, winter is what our climate does best. And we, the people who live through these often harsh and difficult winters, love to talk about how hard we have it, and that we managed to make it through.

Northerners are not alone in this. Texans, for example, love to talk about their brutal summers. Start up a conversation with any Texan in the summer and you will hear something along the lines of, "Gosh almighty, it's hot," which will then lead into a story of suffering in the heat.

But around here, it is winter weather that gives us our best stories. Wind chills, snow depths, temperatures and visibilities. We use these numbers to quantify the difficulty of our lives to others, even though many of us lead lives which are not particularly difficult.

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