Extreme Arctic Cold, Year Two

Last year, the Big Chill hit us in January. This year it waited until February. And in New England, the snow is higher than a basketball player.

Dangerously freezing temperatures! You can blame it on the “arctic vortex.” We’ve got winter weather deja vu.

It’s past time for the thermal underwear and wool blankets. Bring the dogs and cats inside. Throw another log on the fire.

Electric heat pumps, which many people rely on in Maryland, don’t work so well in this kind of weather. On winter nights like this, what you need is a good supply of firewood, and an oil-fired furnace. Or natural gas. Anything but a heat pump!

Are we going for a record low tonight? Or is that tomorrow night? Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night. In the far north and Midwest, unreal temperatures, like 20 degrees below zero. Single-digit temperatures in the border states, like Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland.

Here in the Washington, D.C. area, pick a positive number between zero and 10. The wind chill makes it feel like 5 or 10 degrees below. Frigid temperatures deep into the Southeast, with freeze warnings almost to Miami.

Last year, I wrote:

This kind of cold is worse than normal, even in New England. Here in Maryland, it’s almost a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Seriously. You could look it up.  Except it’s not once-in-a-lifetime. Is this going to be the new normal?

Hold on a little while longer. Wednesday was Ash Wednesday. It’s Lent, already! Whether you’re religious or not, the mathematics are the same. Less than 40 days until Easter. Spring is in sight.

— John Hayden


5 thoughts on “Extreme Arctic Cold, Year Two

  1. The winter has been miserably cold this year. It hasn’t been a week or two of frigid weather, then back to a winter as we know it. It has been one cold snap after another, with hopefully a day or two of reprieve, before the next hit! … all winter.. so far! As a Great Laker, I’m already at the Canadian/American borderline. If you are able to move further south, why wouldn’t you seriously consider it! As I get older, I can understand why the “snowbird” migration may grow as a movement. It’s in our bones and demographics.

    There are those who use media spin, as a tool, to demean or minimize global weather changes, or advocate its existence and impact. Funny, how we see the disparity between those able to manipulate human impact on the earth habitat, and those humans affected by that impact. We are seemingly transitioning class-ism to a simpler or more polarized model – haves verse have-nots. It’s an over-simplification of climate change and human movement in a finite space (Earth), but still an observation, in my opinion.

    I guess if the hurricanes, tornadoes, extreme weather patterns, etc., are becoming more frequent in your geo-location, it is best to move to a more humanely desirable place, before the herd descends… otherwise you may risk a new financial/economic component, as those market prices rise, in an inevitable demand.

    On those evenings and nights when we are hibernating, here are a few interesting reads: Jane Jacobs, “Dark Age Ahead”, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, “Systems of Survival”, “Cities and the Wealth of Nations”; Ronald Wright, “An Illustrated Short History of Progress”, “What is America?”, and for those who enjoy added intrigue, “Stolen Continents” (as we consider environmental refugees & migration patterns to more humane environments). I would throw in author Maude Barlow, as she speaks out about the scarcity of fresh water, with a growing human population, but that’s another chapter.

    John, as Canadians, we also watched the hurricane speed storms hit the Eastern Seaboard, and the Maritimes these past couple of years. I was able to see your FEMA’s participation in part of that recovery. There was joy in seeing the anecdotes unfold, as one human reached out to another, but there wasn’t enough at the collective level. It is disappointing to note, even in this day and age (as two G20 nations), how we brag we have it all in our dogma of “democracy”. Why are we leaving so many people behind? This already precludes nations, who aren’t able to recover within their own GDP. Many of us, within our own country’s borders, may be or are in the next wave, of unrecoverable situations. It’s not “just” a geological series of winter storms anymore!

    John, your writing provokes the curiosity to connect the dots with everyday living, and a thriving to do so!


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