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


Extreme Arctic Cold, Going Into The Third Night

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, third day and night in a row of frigid Canadian temperatures, from the MidAtlantic to New England. And of course worse in the Midwest. Minnesota seems to be the coldest place on Earth, or at least in the U.S. Why do people live there? Don’t they know America is a free country? No passport required to cross state lines.

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