Lies and statistics

Whenever someone looks back on the weather statistics for December 14, 2009, they’ll see the high temperature for Wichita that day was 49.

And they’ll think it was a reasonably pleasant day for mid-December in the heart of the Great Plains. Now, those of us who actually experienced it will know Monday was anything but pleasant, with daytime highs in the 20s and wind chills at times below zero.

That 49 was recorded not long after midnight, before the latest arctic air mass arrived to make our teeth chatter. So, technically, the data is accurate — but that quite-tolerable high came at a time when most of us were tucked away in bed.

Sunrise delivered much different conditions.