CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

January 7, 2014

Pittsburgh’s 1/7/2014 Cold Snap is Vostok’s Heat Wave


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONSMovicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for Sandy, Jordan and Alexis

PITTSBURGH’S 1/7/2014 COLD SNAP

IS VOSTOK’S HEAT WAVE

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NOTE: Perhaps I should have titled this post as LAUGHLINTOWN’S 1/7/2014 Cold Snap. From the Tribune-Review 1/8/2014 front page:

  • …before Tuesday morning was over, Laughlintown would realize its 15 minutes of fame when the National Weather Service proclaimed it the coldest spot in Southwestern Pennsylvania during a blast of frigid weather that sent temperatures across the nation plunging to levels not seen in two decades.
  • 39 degrees with the wind chill, according to the weather service,…Other places in Southwestern Pennsylvania were cold…but none were as frosty as Laughlintown, the sleepy, unincorporated village in Ligonier Township about 20 miles southeast of Greensburg and perched at the base of Laurel Mountain.

And, it must be noted, the sleepier borough of Laurel Mountain, our home site, is but a mile from the iconic Original Pie Shoppe, where the Trib reported a pre-dawn…ice, snow and minus-17 temperatures.

  • “It was so cold you felt like your eyeballs were going to freeze,” said (Sherry) Davis, a cashier at the shop (where) About 3:30 a.m., the temperature inside was just 46 degrees and, though the heat was on overnight, some pipes froze.

Although Some hardy souls just made the trip to stop at the post office for their mail my husband, Monte, who looks forward to doing that  each day, decided it was too cold (although he did take a short walk through the Borough). But going to the Laughlintown Post Office wasn’t easy. It was so cold the post office door was frozen solid. (Read more and view photos in the Trib report )

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The media warned us for days about record-breaking chilly weather—Be prepared: Brief yet brutal cold arrives in Western PennsylvaniaThe National Weather Service in Moon issued a wind chill warning from 1 p.m. Monday through 10 a.m. Wednesday. Temperatures could drop as low as 8 to 15 degrees below zero Monday night, the coldest Pittsburgh has experienced in at least five years. Combined with wind gusts of up to 20 mph, the air could feel as cold as 25 to 40 degrees below zero. *

Perhaps any person living at Russia’s Vostok research base or in one of the many pockets within the heart of Antarctica would consider the coming weather a heat wave. At Vostok the official planetary record low temperature, minus 128.6o Fahrenheit (F) occurred on July 21, 1983. That record was broken on August 10, 2010, when, In the pockets of Antarctica, the temperature plunged to minus 135.8o F.

I watched the weather yesterday, Monday January 6, 2014.  My husband Monte noted that at 1:00 a. m. the temperature was 47o F. At 9:00 a. m it reached 28o F, and pretty much remained there until early evening when it slowly slid lower. Still, it remained in the 20s when I last looked at 11:00 p. m.

The wind didn’t seem two bad here except for two gusts around midnight. A cat curled up on my lap arose and looked out the window when it heard the gusts throoshing along our driveway.

  • It was so cold the dogs were wearing cats and the rats were bribing the alley cats for a snuggle.**

My friend Fred and my sister Lee called before I went to bed. It was 20o F. in Huntsville, Alabama. “The heat pump doesn’t work well in this cold,” he said. Later I wondered: But was it snowing? I hadn’t thought to ask Fred. Below is an undated picture he sent me:

Yes, it does indeed snow in Huntsville, Al. (Pix sent to me from Fred)

Yes, it does indeed snow in Huntsville, Al. (Pix sent to me from Fred)

My sister said two feet of snow had fallen in a very few hours. She planned on staying inside during the cold blast.

She called again this morning.

“There’s a blizzard warning,” said the Lancaster, New York, resident. “I can’t see nearby houses. And it is really cold out there.”

I looked out the kitchen/porch window. The sun was shining. There was no precipitation. It looked gorgeous.

IMG_6458EMy friend Joanne went to Ligonier for breakfast. “It was easier than expected,” she said of the roads. “The café was full. There were more people out than I expected to see. Just don’t stand outside.”

I had no plans to go out. I Was content to putter about the house, cleaning, undecorating my Christmas tree, working on the computer. I had no need to leave the house. I just hoped the pipes wouldn’t freeze and the electricity would stay on.

Cozied up in the foothills of three different “mountains” my husband Monte and I feel protected from the worst of today’s cold snap. Or so I thought.

When I woke up this morning the radio said the regional temperatures were 8-10o below zero. Our thermometer read +4o. However, Monte said the thermometer on the wall upstairs was more accurate, recording the 8-10o below zero temperatures as the same as the media was reporting for Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Accordingly, about 8o could be subtracted from each of the temperatures I read on the downstairs thermometer.

  •  “Why are you crying?” shivered the otter. “Because I am cold!” shouted the gnome. “Then why are you shouting?” chattered the otter. “Because,” yelled the gnome, “when I shout it gets part of the cold from the inside out.”  ― Stephen Cosgrove, Gnome from Nome

The cold yielded itself to a fun activity for my daughter Sandy, granddaughter Jordan, and Jordan’s friend Alexis. It was something I’d read about and intended on doing, but as usual had procrastinated and neglected to do. But I tried to insert a phone taken video here but I can’t figure out how to do it.

  • On a day with very cold, dry air, throw a cup of boiling water into the air. Use a sweeping motion that aims the water away from you. The water will break into tiny liquid water droplets, most of which will evaporate before they hit the ground…By dispersing the liquid water into a collection of liquid water droplets, you’ve increased its surface area, which also speeds evaporation. The combination of hot water, cold, dry air, and high surface area causes most of the tossed near-boiling water to evaporate before it hits the ground, and the tiny droplets that don’t evaporate will freeze into ice crystals while still in the air. If the water is not hot enough, evaporation will be slower. Instead of evaporating, the liquid will hit the ground first, and then freeze.

This short spell of frigid windy weather that is the coldest since 20 years ago is attributed to a polar vortex being pushed southward from the polar region by a large, powerful high pressure system, which originated in the Eastern Pacific and stretched to the North Pole. A polar vortex vortex is a large pocket of very cold air, typically the coldest air in the Northern hemisphere, which sits over the polar region during the winter season.****

IMG_6459EMy sympathy extends to all those persons who must, unlike us, deal with this extreme cold. May they take care to protect themselves from the elements as best as possible.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Great Blue Norther: 11-11-1911

Wooly Worm Winter Weather Prediction 2013-2014

Mother Nature’s Creatures Predict Winter Weather

SOURCES

*   http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5365621-74/cold-zero-monday#axzz2pSKiSDQE

**   http://www.athropolis.com/jokes3.htm

****   http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/what-is-a-polar-vortex/21793077

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1 Comment »

  1. We had ice and snow Sunday, then the temps began really dropping, reaching 7%. This morning the temp was 12% with -10% wind chill. Finally the temps began to rise and this evening we’re back in the 30’s. Feels almost balmy!~/

    Comment by merry — January 7, 2014 @ 8:54 pm | Reply


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