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Tue Jan 29, 2019, 07:41 PM

Polar vortex this...

Sometime in the 1970's when I was about 12 years old, the temperatures at night in central Maine went down to -43F for about three weeks. That's not even a record. The lowest recorded temp in Maine was -50F. As a kid I remember that after it got below -13F it didn't much matter, it was just damned cold. No one went on and on about frost bite or danger. you just dressed for the weather and that was that. People just had to deal. The cars were fitted with head bold heaters, and my brother would go out in the middle of the night and start the car to keep the anti freeze from coagulating so he could get to work on time. Daytime temperatures were a balmy -23 degrees during that stretch. There was a lot of complaining, but no one died. I seem to remember that people were much more pragmatic (almost stoic) back then. It wasn't even news.

The media is all about stirring it up and manufacturing crisis to make sure you stay tuned.

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Polar vortex this... (Original post)
infullview Jan 2019 OP
dhill926 Jan 2019 #1
Mister Ed Jan 2019 #2
The Velveteen Ocelot Jan 2019 #3
localroger Jan 2019 #9
The Velveteen Ocelot Jan 2019 #12
Lucca2 Jan 2019 #4
infullview Jan 2019 #10
Joe941 Jan 2019 #5
infullview Jan 2019 #7
Joe941 Jan 2019 #8
infullview Jan 2019 #11
Blue_true Jan 2019 #19
The Velveteen Ocelot Jan 2019 #13
Roland99 Jan 2019 #6
912gdm Jan 2019 #14
infullview Jan 2019 #15
USALiberal Jan 2019 #16
infullview Jan 2019 #17
Blue_true Jan 2019 #20
Scurrilous Jan 2019 #18
roamer65 Jan 2019 #21
AwakeAtLast Jan 2019 #22

Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 07:50 PM

1. "The media is all about stirring it up and manufacturing crisis to make sure you stay tuned"

that does indeed seem to be their main function...

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Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 07:54 PM

2. That's how it was here in Minnesota when I was a kid.

We've seldom seen this kind of cold in the last 20 years, though.







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Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 08:10 PM

3. This kind of weather was normal in January and February in Minnesota

until maybe the mid-'90s. Since we were used to it we knew how to dress for it and also how to deal with cars. I think the newer cars are easier to start than the old ones, too; but in those days we always had to either plug in the car or go out and start it every few hours. I used to string an extension cord from my house and across the sidewalk in order to plug in the tank heater, and threw an old blanket across the hood to keep the heat in. I worry that younger people who haven't experienced these temperatures (including the weird phenomenon of frozen eyelashes and nose hairs) won't dress appropriately. Wear a bunch of layers, warm gloves and socks and a hat and scarf, and avoid exposing bare skin. And bring your pets inside!

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 09:08 PM

9. Most modern cars specify synthetic oil

It works much better at low temps than the old stuff for starting a cold engine. Also most modern cars have AGM batteries because even in normal weather the car does so much electrical stuff while the engine is off, and those perform better in the cold too.

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Response to localroger (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 09:24 PM

12. Also electronic ignition and fuel injection, not old-fashioned starters and carburetors.

In the olden days you'd have to pump the accelerator before starting a cold car just to get fuel into the carburetor, then you'd have to sit there for awhile and idle the engine until the oil warmed up.

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Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 08:13 PM

4. I respect your view but

things do break down after extended cold spells. In Alaska, after a -30 or colder spell, cars break down, septic systems and boilers will seize up. I think it's Ok to be a bit frightened/aware. Our cold spells do take a toll on human and animal life, too. I think it's a lot easier to remember being a happy child when things were hard because we don't know all the worry that went into it. But, yes, being pragmatic is a lost art

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Response to Lucca2 (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 09:10 PM

10. With all due respect

this place I grew up in was still an agrarian community. You know that old Hillary expression "it takes a village", it was. Back then, people looked out for each other. You could count on your neighbor to pull you out of a snowbank if you got stuck. Even at -23 degrees, I still had to shovel a huge driveway, wade through deep snow with a 100 pound burlap bag of oats to feed the horses, and take a pick axe to the barn to break up the poop in the stalls and shovel it out. Not to mention all the other animals that had to be fed and watered. My neighbors down the road were milking about 100 head so they were busy too. As a kid we had responsibilities to livestock. When I say life went on, I meant it. Not just for me but for all the other lives that depended on me - even during the worst weather. My memory is not hazy, and I don't think of these as sweet childhood moments.

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Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 08:22 PM

5. Uuhm no... climate change indicates these things are worse today than the past.

 

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Response to Joe941 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 08:36 PM

7. wasn't addressing climate change, only making a comment on the wat it's reported.

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Response to infullview (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 08:54 PM

8. Well your arguments are the same the climate deniers use.

 

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Response to Joe941 (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 09:14 PM

11. Nothing remotely to do with climate change - which by the way I take as fact.

now go find someone else to pick a fight with.

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Response to infullview (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 10:04 PM

19. One concern is that climate change will cause a permanent shift in the gulf stream southward.

When that happens, instead of being exposed to attic cold for a week or two, it will be months at a time, causing life to cease in affected places. There are counterbalancing trends in climate change, for example, in addition to possibly shifting the Gulf Stream south, we are also warming the Artic, I have no concept of how that works out in the end, maybe we die from heat in summer and prolonged cold during winter.

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Response to Joe941 (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 09:28 PM

13. They aren't necessarily worse but they occur more often and unexpectedly.

Cold this extreme in my area, Minnesota, wasn't especially unusual 30 years ago, but now it seems extreme because winters have become so much warmer and we're no longer prepared for it. What's really unusual this time is that this cold snap, or polar vortex, is extending to areas that hardly ever got this cold, even years ago. The polar vortex is occurring because unusually warm weather and sea water in the arctic is pushing the cold air farther south than usual. That's the climate change part, not just the cold.

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Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 08:30 PM

6. Louisville hit -24F. Next county over was -31F. 25 yrs ago

We lived. Hell. Walked a couple blocks the next day in 16 of snow to visit some friends

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Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 09:31 PM

14. Was that when you had to walk 9 miles up hill to school?

and then 18 miles uphill to get back home?

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Response to 912gdm (Reply #14)


Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 09:34 PM

16. Define "Central Maine", and what year? 1975?

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Response to USALiberal (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 09:42 PM

17. somerset county

Skowhegan, Norridgewock, Madison - don't remember the year. Do remember that we also had a huge amount of snow and it was bitterly cold. It might even have been in the late 60's.

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Response to infullview (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 10:12 PM

20. You mentioned 1-2 weeks of frigid weather, try months of that if the Gulf Stream shifts south.

Already the Pacific Current has shifted. If you are at -30 with -50 windchill day after day for months on end, the animals that you mentioned would die because you could not get fuel to warm them, your house would be buried by snow drifts, roads would be impassable and machines that normally clean them would be unusable because if they are ever shutdown after a period of sustained cold, their fuel lines would fail.

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Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 09:52 PM

18. I had a job once at a meat distributor (Excel) where the blast freezer was kept at minus 20.

I stayed the @#$% out!

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Response to infullview (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2019, 10:13 PM

21. Probably 1977 or 1978.

Those winters in the 1970s were brutal.

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Response to infullview (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2019, 12:20 PM

22. One of my students

Did not know what a parka was. This is extreme weather for people who don't experience it regularly, so that is what makes it dangerous.

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