It's Still Raining13 Jan 2012
An inside joke in our house is that if I answer the phone and right after the "Hello" start discussing the weather, my wife knows my parents in Minnesota have called. Never mind the Caller ID and the fact I'm speaking English are also dead giveaways.
Of course in Minnesota the weather is a valid topic for conversation. It's extreme! They've got bitter cold, sweltering heat, massive thunderstorms, killer blizzards, and (insert your own adjective here) tornados! If you're not careful the weather can kill you! Drivers are advised to keep blankets and chocolate in their cars, since if they get stuck in the snow on a country road it could take a day or two or three before they can get out. My father was a highway engineer, responsible for keeping roads clear. He spent half his career watching the weather and planning accordingly. And in retirement, he hasn't quite gotten out of the habit. :-)
If Minnesota weather is worth a conversation, Hamburg weather is worth at best a grunt. Maritime climate. 130 days of rain per year. Moderate temperatures. Regular seasons. Sometimes wind. Hmmph.
(There are sometimes exceptions, of course, like in 2010 when we had snow and ice on the ground for 3 months: January, February and December. Those months stick out like sore thumbs on our business statements. It's not that it was so cold, but that the highway departments ran out of salt and couldn't clear the roads. They should have called my father for advice.)
For instance, the past 3 weeks we've had rain and 4°C/40°F, broken up only by days with wind and rain. The damp cold seeps through your clothing and sticks to your skin. If you're prone to depression due to seasonal affective disorder, this is not the place to be.
So when my parents call and tell me about the latest extreme phenomenon they are experiencing, they always ask politely how the weather is here. My answer is pretty much always the same. It's still raining.