Friday, March 6, 2015

Colorful Igloo Is One Antidote To Never Ending Winter

Jostein Alvestad's colorful igloo in suburban Chicago.  
More record lows were set across a vast area of the eastern United States today as the never ending winter drags on.

True, temperatures will ease up this weekend and next week over much of the nation, but this is a bit much.

I'll get to one guy's solution to the unrelenting cold in a minute, but first, some low temperatures.

I'm writing this at dawn, and a complete list of records and low temperatures won't be available until late this morning (when I'll be largely unavailable to update this, oh well.)

We do have some stats: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania hit its all time record low for the month of March with a reading of 2 below. That beats the old record for the month of minus 1 set in 1980. Temperatures were still falling in Pittsburgh when the record was set, so it might end up colder.

Lexington, Kentucky was flirting with its all time March low of -2, set in 1960. Before dawn, it was zero and Lexington, and the temperature was still slowly falling.

Alvestad's igloo under construction.  
Freeze warnings extended all the way to the Gulf Coast, which is normally into spring by now. Mobile,  on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, was at 27 degrees before dawn, flirting with a record low of 26 degrees.

Below zero readings were as far south as Virginia, where it was 6 below in New Market.

It was frigid in New York's Adirondacks and northern New England. At last check, it was 27 below in Saranac Lake, New York and Canaan, Vermont.  

It was 24 below in Whitefield, New Hampshire and 22 below in Berlin, New Hampshire.  I wouldn't be surprised to find some readings in the 30s below in northern New England today.

Those readings are pretty low for January. For March, Yikes!

As I said, it will warm up, but not fast enough.

So a guy in the Chicago area named Jostein Alvestad made the darkness of the winter cold brighter with an ingenious idea, says Chicago Magazine.

He decided to build an igloo in his yard. But not any igloo. This one is gorgeous.
The view from inside Alvestad's igloo.  

Every cold night, he'd take a bunch of plastic tubs - 32 of them to be precise - fill them with colored water and let them freeze overnight.

He used the colorful blocks of ice from the plastic tubs as bricks for his igloo.

Says Chicago Magazine:

"Once a sufficient stockpile (of bricks) ws built up, he would slide them into place and use a slush slurry of snow and water for mortar. Finally, he would coast it all with water from a garden hose to form an icy exterior."

Despite a couple of setbacks, like a January thaw and a repeatedly freezing garden hose, he's got his beautiful igloo.

"You'd be surprised how warm it gets in there. You're using candles and it's totally insulated inside, and your body heats it up, so it's much warmer than outside," Alvestad said.

Nice, but I bet a lot of people in Chicagoland are ready for some non-igloo weather.  Temperatures are expected to reach to about 50 degrees in Chicago by Tuesday. 

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