|Blue nation: This morning's National Weather Service|
home page map was a study in blue, filled with
vast areas of wind chill and freeze alerts.
It looks very grim. Could be one of the most brutally cold days in my lifetime. Considering I'm 55, that's saying something.
Oh, I know, it might not be as bad as current predictionss are indicating now. Forecasts change. But some indications for next Friday are shivering my timbers, let me tell ya.
First let's get through the latest Arctic blast, which came in last night. It seemed "warm" in Burlington, Vermont for awhile Saturday afternoon. The temperature peaked at a lovely, balmy 11 degrees above zero in the afternoon, the hottest it's been since Tuesday evening.
That, of course, didn't last long. It was back to the deep freeze last night, and that will continue through New Year's Eve. Looking at the national weather map, the United States is now Blue Nation, and I'm not talking about politics.
At least half of the U.S. is colored in hues of blue on the National Weather Service home page - filed with wind chill warnings and advisories, and in the south, hard freeze warnings.
I haven't seen such a vast cold wave in the United States in quite a few years.
Can I stop right here and indulge in another rant about people on the roads? During this cold snap, we here in Vermont and a lot of other places in the vast cold zone have been getting little bouts of light snow. It's too cold for salt to work. The snow and ice stays on the highways. The wind does appears to blow some of the snow off the roads, so they're perfect, right?
Um, no. Car tires have been compacting some of this light snow into black ice. The roads don't look too bad, but they're icy. I saw a lot of cars off Interstate 89 Friday evening and a few more Saturday. Motorists are going 75 mph. They don't get it that there's black ice, which is hard to see. Slow down, morons!!
|This cartoon by George Danby in the Bangor (Maine)|
Daily News this week pretty much sums things up.
At the bottom of this post, you'll see some videos from Michigan of people going too fast on the highways during lake effect snow squalls. People gotta learn to slow down. More people are going to be killed because people are too stupid to slow down on ice and low visibility.
Rant over. Moving on. As expected, it's damn cold today, and will be tonight for New Year's Eve festivities. We're still looking at wind chills in the teens and 20s below zero come midnight in Vermont, so 2018 is starting out by giving us the cold shoulder, to put it gently.
It'll stay cold New Year's Day, then we get into a "mild" spell Tuesday and Wednesday, when high temperatures will rise all the way up into the teens to around 20. Break out those swimsuits, baby!
Then we get into the trouble I talked about at the start of this blog post. An ocean storm will get going in the Bahamas and track northward, well off the East Coast. It will intensify rapidly, and become a vast, intense super strong wind machine.
It's still hard to say how far off the coast this monster will track. At this point it looks far enough away to spare the eastern United States from a lot of snow but it still bears watching.
Once this huge storm approaches the waters off New England, it will tend to curl a little bit toward the northwest, while still strengthening. That could cause a blizzard in eastern Maine if it comes close enough, and a little snow in Vermont. And it will probably cause an epic, dangerous storm in the Canadian Maritimes.
But that's not worries me so much about this storm. All of the Northeast, certainly including Vermont, will be in this huge storm's huge wind field. That means by Friday, I expect that north winds could be gusting in the 30 to 40 mph range, maybe more than that in the higher elevations.
Worse, this storm is going to grab a chunk of Arctic air from Canada and bring it down on us. Friday's chunk of Artic air looks like it might be even colder than the icebox we've got over us today .
The combination of wind and extreme cold looks awful. If this comes to fruition, I expect lots of burst and frozen water pipes as the cold winds push the Arctic air through every nook and cranny of our houses and buildings.
Low temperatures Friday and possibly Saturday night across Vermont and surrounding areas look like they could be in the 20 to 35 below range, and that's not including the wind chill.
Having lived in Vermont all my life so far, I think I've only experienced such conditions two or three times before
Of course, I'm still hoping current computer forecasting models are blowing this all out of proportion and it won't be so bad. That's still certainly a possibility. Maybe by Thursday I'll be doing my best Emily Litella impression: ("Never mind!") But it's still something to watch.
If you're looking for good news, it looks like by next Sunday, the deep chill will start to moderate. There will be more Arctic fronts after next Sunday, it looks like, but those outbreaks of cold air don't look anything nearly as bad as what we're experiencing today, and what we're likely to experience next Friday.
Here's those road crash videos. The first is the most dramatic. The couple in the car, which slid off a Michigan highway, narrate as cars and trucks keep smashing into one another. At least three plow into the couple's car. I'm amazed by how calm the two remain. The second video shows more of the same type of thing.
Let's be careful out there!
And here's tow truck driver's overview of the scene in Michigan: