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POLAR VORTEX
January 5, 2014 10:56 AM   Subscribe

'Polar Vortex' Brings Bitter Cold, Heavy Snow To U.S. right on the back of WINTER STORM HERCULES that delayed or cancelled flights all over the country, stranding holiday travelers, and dumping lots of snow all over the midwest and northeast. Planes are sliding off runways! Dogs are wearing booties!

NY Magazine: A ‘Polar Vortex’ Is About to Freeze the Country

1200 Flights Cancelled at Ohare

CNN: Arctic blast dropping temperatures in U.S. to lows not seen in years

Chicago weather forecast in a word: 'Brutal'

They're even preparing for it here in the south: Coldest air in over a decade headed to the Carolinas

Winter Storm Ion: Heavy Midwest Snow, Freezing Rain for South and East, Then Widespread Brutal Cold
posted by ninjew (443 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think this post contains original research.
posted by elizardbits at 10:59 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Meh. Have you seen Britain lately?

(P.S. First link's borked.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:00 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


[Removed first broken link]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:01 AM on January 5


Well It may not have been THE POLAR VORTEX: REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED ME but the weather was the reason why my plane landed at 4pm but I didn't get home until midnight.

I live an hour from the airport.

*sigh*


On the upside this means I can blast The Immigrant Song as loud as I want and toast my hearty Viking ancestors, yes?
posted by The Whelk at 11:03 AM on January 5 [16 favorites]


Go forth and quaff.
posted by elizardbits at 11:04 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


[Fixed broken link.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:05 AM on January 5


*dances in fancy fur pants*
posted by The Whelk at 11:05 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, my local SuperDopplerStormTeam6 is going wall-to-wall with non-stop, breathless details about how OMGYOUMIGHTDIEIFYOUDON'TKEEPWATCHINGUSLOOKATTHISCOOLMAP!!!!, driving my elderly father-in-law to call us every hour from the retirement home to make sure we're ok, because the tv he's constantly watching is giving him the impression that the Apocalypse is nigh.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:05 AM on January 5 [14 favorites]


I'm planning to try the thing where you throw boiling water in the air and it comes down as snow. Those Canadians we saw here a few weeks ago were doing it at -40, but maybe -20 works too.
posted by echo target at 11:06 AM on January 5 [5 favorites]


So global warming IS a hoax! #baiting
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 11:06 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I had a 12-hour ordeal at O'Hare yesterday, so yeah, I can attest to shit being out of control.
posted by naju at 11:07 AM on January 5


I'm flying out of La Guardia on Tuesday and hoping for the best.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:09 AM on January 5


Polar Vortex, I hardly even know her.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:09 AM on January 5 [27 favorites]


Looking at the temperatures on this map over the next few days gives me virtual chills. The Monday night map is just...No.
posted by rtha at 11:10 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Winter Storm Hercules got its ass kicked by Winter Storm Xena. They were both eventually defeated by Calm Day Thomas.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:11 AM on January 5 [14 favorites]


Even the subway yesterday, we kept randomly changing from the express to local tracks and the conductor sounded like he was going die.
posted by The Whelk at 11:11 AM on January 5 [7 favorites]


My wife and I just spent two-and-a-half hours clearing off our driveway. We'd get to the end and have to re-shovel it. We probably went over the drive four times before we called it quits for now. But, better to do it in stages than wait to clear 10 inches of wet compacted snow.

Yeah...Monday is going to suck hugely.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:11 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Does this mean it's always going to be winter but never christmas?
posted by The Whelk at 11:13 AM on January 5 [19 favorites]


Weatherbug is telling me that my area is going to have a low of -10F tomorrow but it's 38F right now. I'm envisioning a scene from that terrible Roland Emmerich movie a few years ago where people are trying to outrun cold.
posted by octothorpe at 11:16 AM on January 5 [16 favorites]


Don't talk to me about cold weather, here in West Palm Beach it's forecast to get down into the fifties! I'm going to have to turn on the pool heater!
posted by Daily Alice at 11:16 AM on January 5 [28 favorites]


So global warming IS a hoax! #,baiting 'bating
posted by 445supermag at 11:17 AM on January 5 [10 favorites]


They've already called off work for me tomorrow, but I'm kind of dreading being stuck in my house with an active dog when it's too cold for much of a walk.
posted by COBRA! at 11:18 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


who puts the hype in hypothermia?!

Her-cu-les!
posted by The Whelk at 11:18 AM on January 5 [6 favorites]


i spent 9 hours total at O'Hare on Wednesday. and I was one of the lucky ones that made it out. the storm stopped for a few hours in the afternoon, so flights started leaving. during the day i was watching some planes take off and then disappear into a wall of snow. which looked terrifying. on the way to the airport that morning, I honestly expected i'd be sleeping in the terminal that night but i had to at least try.

i wandered that stupid airport forever. i ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner there.
posted by ninjew at 11:19 AM on January 5


So global warming IS a hoax! #baiting

I would be curious to see how much of this winter storm can be attributed to changes in the Jet Stream.

I was looking online for maps of the Polar Jet Stream (to compare "normal" versus "The New Normal / Chaotic") but it's very confusing.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:20 AM on January 5 [7 favorites]


Weatherbug is telling me that my area is going to have a low of -10F tomorrow but it's 38F right now. I'm envisioning a scene from that terrible Roland Emmerich movie a few years ago where people are trying to outrun cold

Here's a screencap of Weatherspark's graph of what my temps are about to do. Looks like a great design for the next coaster at Cedar Point.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:25 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


POLAR VORTEX! How will the world survive? How will lovers reunite? Starring Casper Van Diem, Debbie Gibson, and Michael Ironside. Only on SyFy!
posted by RakDaddy at 11:27 AM on January 5 [9 favorites]


As Henry Blake said in an episode of M*A*S*H, "you better keep the brass monkeys in tonight".
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 11:28 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


It was 52 here about an hour or so ago. A local station says we'll be down to -2 overnight. Whee.
posted by dilettante at 11:28 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


It's the same thing that happened last winter, warmer polar temps creating blocking patterns that push cold air down south. The US (eastern) is one of the few places on the planet having below normal temps. It's been among the warmest Novembers and Decembers in history, globally.
posted by stbalbach at 11:28 AM on January 5 [11 favorites]


I was up in Michigan visiting family over the holidays, and the rumbling approach of this made me absolutely joyous to return to the (relatively) warm valleys of southern Tennessee. My cousin stayed an extra two days and encountered several cancellations trying to get back to San Francisco.

WINTER STORM HERCULES

I want to know where this puts us in relation to CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:28 AM on January 5 [5 favorites]


HI rest of country... welcome to what we've been dealing with off and on for weeks now. (only it didn't make the national news)
posted by edgeways at 11:29 AM on January 5 [10 favorites]


My wife and I just spent two-and-a-half hours clearing off our driveway. We'd get to the end and have to re-shovel it. We probably went over the drive four times before we called it quits for now. But, better to do it in stages than wait to clear 10 inches of wet compacted snow.

I still have faint twitches of PTSD from some mid-90s blizzard (maybe it was '96?) in the DC area, when I shoveled approximately every hour all evening, and when I got up in the morning I could barely get my storm door open. Bleh. My arms and shoulders and back hurt just thinking about it.
posted by rtha at 11:29 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


rtha, that was 96 for sure. We were off school for about a week because people could not get out.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:31 AM on January 5 [5 favorites]


I want to know where this puts us in relation to CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN

The fact that in the books, worst case global climate change is a perfect metaphor for the old ones returning is just icing on the cake.
posted by The Whelk at 11:32 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


My wife and I just spent two-and-a-half hours clearing off our driveway.

One perk of city living: we have a garage but no driveway. It opens right onto the service alley so no shoveling or cleaning the car off.
posted by octothorpe at 11:32 AM on January 5


Colder than Mars.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:34 AM on January 5 [6 favorites]


One perk of city living: we have a garage but no driveway. It opens right onto the service alley so no shoveling or cleaning the car off.

We have a garage, thankfully.
How long will it be before a plow clears your alley?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:34 AM on January 5


I am still getting over more than a week of being desperately ill. Loading the dishwasher just now took about half my energy for the day.

If my employer thinks I'm going to clear foot-deep snow from my driveway in -7 degree weather, somehow without passing out and freezing to death... well, I hope they don't think that. Because I don't.
posted by Foosnark at 11:36 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


True story.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:36 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


We are headed out to see Frozen at the movie theater. It is only -5F right now and I will go crazy if I'm cooped up inside any longer.
posted by Area Man at 11:38 AM on January 5


I'm going to be okay with this as long as there are no ice wraiths.

I hate those things.
posted by The Whelk at 11:39 AM on January 5 [28 favorites]


How long will it be before a plow clears your alley?

Never. They don't usually plow anything but the main avenues here unless we get more than two or three inches which is about once every few years. But the snow gets mashed down by traffic pretty quickly. In six winters here, I've only had problems getting out once and that was two feet of snow.
posted by octothorpe at 11:39 AM on January 5


I'm having a weird upstate NY moment reading about all this. Our region is usually a competitor in the Suckiest Winter Weather competition but it's 34 and partly sunny right now.
posted by aught at 11:40 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Y'all are wusses. It's - 28C here in Calgary and people are genuinely saying "Cold enough for you, eh?".

Seriously though, stay safe and warm out there.
posted by arcticseal at 11:41 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


We will definitely be doing the boiling water trick, and the bubbles. Very excited.

I love facebook during weather like this, with everyone just sitting around posting temperatures and snow totals and then scoffing at other people's temperatures and snow totals. It's fun.
posted by gerstle at 11:41 AM on January 5 [5 favorites]


NY Magazine: A ‘Polar Vortex’ Is About to Freeze the Country

It is 75ºF here today. The only freezing happening is in my refrigerator's freezer compartment.
posted by birdherder at 11:41 AM on January 5 [3 favorites]


If my employer thinks I'm going to clear foot-deep snow from my driveway in -7 degree weather, somehow without passing out and freezing to death... well, I hope they don't think that. Because I don't.

My son is supposed to work tomorrow afternoon. I have no idea if he'll be able to get there, especially since the county seems to treat plowing as a merely theoretical thing. It's food service, which is notorious for punishing employees who dare to obey travel restrictions.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:44 AM on January 5


I'm currently trapped in a cabin in the woods. 4 inches of snow Thursday, a glaze of freezing rain. There's no way my car will drive over the hill that would take me out of here and the towing companies have all laughed at me when I asked about a tow to the nearest paved road.

Two bottles of wine left before this vacation gets ugly.
posted by peeedro at 11:44 AM on January 5 [21 favorites]


They're even preparing for it here in the south: Coldest air in over a decade headed to the Carolinas

Man I'm about to leave NC for NYC, and I was SHOCKED to see that the temperatures in both places Monday night will be below 10 degrees. It barely ever even stays below freezing for 24 hours in NC. My parents just simply do not own clothing sufficient for eight degree weather.

Today it wasn't horribly cold, but there was very heavy fog at noon, also pretty freakin rare...
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:46 AM on January 5


It's raining and slushy now. Soon it will turn to snow and we will have a hell of frozen rain and slush under a powdery, drifting layer of snow. Good thing I'm off till Wednesday.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:48 AM on January 5


It was -26F when I walked my dog this morning, no wind though. That'll change tomorrow, and I am not looking forward to it.

Love, Elly "Polar" Vortex
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:50 AM on January 5 [21 favorites]


Two bottles of wine left before this vacation gets ugly.

Prisoner science has you covered, peeedro - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruno

I'd keep the big ziploc bag tucked in your jacket, tho.
posted by codswallop at 11:50 AM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Obligatory former-Chicago now-California dweller who says heh.
posted by susiswimmer at 11:51 AM on January 5 [5 favorites]


Not eagerly awaiting the global climate change arguments to burst forth on my social media feeds. Praise be to the Blue for being a refuge from that sort of thing.
posted by Renoroc at 11:51 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Dad lives in Milwaukee, works, and doesn't drive. I asked him if he's planning on taking the day off because of the cold.

"NO I WON'T I'LL BE JUST FINE I'VE GOT A HUGE HAT. WITH EAR FLAPS."*

He then said that he also called a taxi service, that'll take him door to door.

*It's really the most effective if you read this in the voice of Wilfred Mott, from Doctor Who.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:53 AM on January 5 [7 favorites]


Luckily I got the last few fire arrows left at the store yesterday, since snow like this always brings out the ice trolls in St. Louis. Stay safe, everybody!
posted by invitapriore at 11:54 AM on January 5 [15 favorites]


Freezing rain warning (and currently snowing) in Toronto, but at least we'll be a lot warmer than Chicago. There may be a melt and refreeze before morning, so tomorrow's commute could be interesting.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:56 AM on January 5


I am really worried that my power will go out. Local weather dude is anticipating a blizzard warning. A foot of snow, wind chills near -45 tonight and the high temp tomorrow around -15. I won't get out of my house for days if this is all true. I live in a rural area and am already plowed in.
posted by futz at 11:56 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I was going to make a snarky comment about it being almost 70 degrees outside right now, but I checked and now realize that after midnight it's only going to be above freezing for a few ours each Monday and Tuesday afternoon. This is going to be a wonderful week to be a plumber in New Orleans.
posted by localroger at 11:56 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Oh... and what some of us northerners do when it's friggen cold? Surf, what else?
posted by edgeways at 11:57 AM on January 5 [5 favorites]


Is this like the first year we've had weather on the Internet or something? Because the Canadian news media have been acting like cold weather in the WINTER is a surprise. Oh my GOD! It's below zero! In Calgary! Wasn't it like this for weeks at a time when I was a kid growing up in Edmonton? (Yes, it was. Below -40 C for two whole weeks, on one occasion.) I understand there is severe and unusual weather in Britain and the Northern US, but I don't understand why it's necessary to exaggerate and shout Weather! from every possible rooftop. Why yes, I have nothing else to grumble about.
posted by sneebler at 12:01 PM on January 5 [9 favorites]


Everyone always complains about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it.



Unless they are Cobra Commander.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:03 PM on January 5 [40 favorites]


So true.
posted by COBRA! at 12:05 PM on January 5 [59 favorites]


We fly out of JFK tomorrow, also hoping for the best! My family in Florida keeps telling me it's going to be "cold" - 40 degrees! I think I can handle it.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:09 PM on January 5


I walk to work and it was so cold Thursday and Friday i wore my snowveralls to work. It's usually cold here in south central Pa for winter but this single digit crap is insane, i can't imagine colder. I'd need to wear two coats.

I wish we'd get more snow. It's just freezing raining now.
posted by sio42 at 12:13 PM on January 5


Obligatory former-Chicago now-California dweller who says heh.

But ..... we love this. This is our favorite thing.
posted by gerstle at 12:13 PM on January 5 [7 favorites]


I heard that Winnipeg is having its coldest winter in 88 years.

Here in far SE Massachusetts we are supposed to get a nice warm juicy shot of air tonight and tomorrow (50s with rain) before the next cold shot comes in. But, when cold air plunges down from Canada into the Midwest, and then moves east, it is always heavily modified before reaching us. Hence, the forecast for my location calls for temps to only reach +10 during the coldest morning in the coming days. Not so bad. We get our coldest air when a storm grabs arctic air from Quebec and drives it straight south. That happened the other day which is why we had that very unusual cold dry powdery snow (I have only observed dry powdery snow at my location twice since 1996). On Saturday morning I recorded a low temperature of -6 F, which was the 1st below zero reading at my place in 10 years, and the coldest I have recorded in 17 years. But the air was dead calm and it quickly warmed up to 30 with bright sun, so it wasn't so bad.

It's the same thing that happened last winter, warmer polar temps creating blocking patterns that push cold air down south.

I don't think northern hemisphere blocking has been happening much this winter. Perhaps a meteorologist can chime in and verify.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 12:14 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Just cold down here in TX, no precip. But the wind is just roaring at you. Hoods and hats don't help when one of those gusts blasts down your neckline, damn.
posted by emjaybee at 12:15 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


I have friends who are trying to get back to Boston from California. The first chance they have is Wednesday night and that's out of a different airport (San Jose vs San Francisco). Meanwhile I'm in Austin grumbling because it's going to be about freezing tomorrow morning when I go to the dentist (emjaybee is right about the wind, though).
posted by immlass at 12:17 PM on January 5


Meanwhile, in the Bay Area we are in the midst of the driest year on record by an unnerving margin. Winter snowpack is at 20% of normal. Global climate change is a bitch.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:22 PM on January 5 [11 favorites]


But isn't a temperature of -25 F with wind perfectly comfortable because the air is bone dry? Why is the state of Minnesota closed tomorrow? Apparently, all you folks from Seattle who endure perpetual rain and drizzle and 43 degrees all winter should be running for cover to protect yourself from the damp brutality of it all.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 12:23 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


This @Delta flight made 5 or so attempts to land at LGA before giving up and diverting to PIT

omg that's nuts

i have no idea why i'm getting called to work tonight. it won't even dip below freezing until tomorrow. i can only guess they're basing need off traffic at the airports in the north. i guess it's going to be a long night sitting in the truck burning diesel for nothing.
posted by ninjew at 12:26 PM on January 5


At these temps, even just a little wind can make for dramatically low wind chills. Minus 50 to minus 60 is being mentioned, which is pretty miserable.
posted by gimonca at 12:27 PM on January 5


("These temps" meaning the forecast low tonight of -24F for Minneapolis. Colder up north.)
posted by gimonca at 12:29 PM on January 5


There aren't enough nopetopuses in the world to make the below zero degree windchill proposed for next Tuesday okay. Nope nope nope nope!
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:31 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Global climate change is a bitch.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:22 PM on January 5 [+] [!]


Eponysterical! Heh.
posted by codswallop at 12:31 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


Took advantage of the one day break in weather to ski northwest Massachusetts -- sunny high mid 30s with a refreshed base from 15 inches of snow in the prior four days.
posted by MattD at 12:31 PM on January 5


Moved from Calgary back to my hometown of Victoria BC close to three years ago. I still remember that -30 feeling very well. 5C here right now, and sunny. Here's to being on the correct side of that jetstream! I'm feeling for you guys who aren't so lucky.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:32 PM on January 5


Another thing to consider is they changed the wind chill chart in 2001, so comparing "oh back in my day we waited for the bus as schoolkids in -60 wind chill" to today is not apples-to-apples. I remember growing up in Buffalo we rarely got snow days, but we did get a day off for it being -50 wind chill... which would "only" be called about -35 today. New and old wind chill charts via NOAA

Chicago public schools are open with parents welcome to keep their kids home if they think they should, but I think that's a good thing to give kids who need it a warm, safe place to spend the day.

My stupid office jumped the gun and closed last Thursday because of the first round of heavy snow, and now I'm worried they won't close tomorrow.
posted by misskaz at 12:33 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


Don't Call This Storm Nemo:
Yes: last year The Weather Channel—which owns Weather.com, Weather Underground, and a host of other weather-related sites—announced it would begin naming winter storms too. That is its official list of names, as packaged in its official, attractive graphic.

The truth is there is very little attempt being made to hide the fact that this is a money play. In case the inclusion of "Draco" and "Nemo" (just some Greek and Roman names, nothing to do with any recent children's movies, don't worry) and "Gandolf" (the "Bert Sampson" of fantasy names) didn't tip you off, the announcement itself makes it clear that this is about punching up the weather story: "A storm with a name takes on a personality all its own," writes Tom Niziol. Such "personality," he claims "adds to awareness."
I had no idea that the Weather Channel was responsible for naming the storm, although I thought it having a name was odd.

I'm in an affected area, although we are getting a comparatively minor hit--only a few inches of snow, and most people's cars will still start. It will be over in a day. Yet, everyone is FLIPPING OUT. There was a run on grocery supplies, parents are fretting, etc.

God, the news is so toxic.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:34 PM on January 5 [7 favorites]


Being from Tennessee, I find any snow that the grass doesn't poke through extremely charming. So of course I decided that I needed to go sledding in this fabulous blizzard. The big sledding hill in St. Louis was like Everest without the guides ropes and Sherpas. We did one half of a run and then bailed.
It's drifting up nicely and the temp keeps dropping. I'm just glad I'm considered non-essential personnel and can work from home tomorrow.
posted by teleri025 at 12:34 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


As I pointed out in the dog poop axis thread, we're 22 below with a 56 below wind chill here in northwest North Dakota and the wind is over 30 mph. And no, our dog has now gone 21 hours without taking a dump. I hate to think of what is boiling and roiling in those little intestines.
posted by Ber at 12:36 PM on January 5 [14 favorites]


Nothing between you and the North Pole but a few barbed wire fences?
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 12:39 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Two winter storms ago the Weather Channel hit "F" in the alphabet....yes, we got to experience Winter Storm Falco.
posted by gimonca at 12:42 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Yesterday 66. Tonight 22. Arctic blast. Back into 60's by Wednesday!
posted by bukvich at 12:42 PM on January 5


What do they call those arctic blasts in Texas? Blue northers or something like that I think?
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 12:43 PM on January 5


Did you go to Art Hill, teleri025? Or just your neighborhood Killer Hill? If the former, what were the streets like getting there and back?
posted by limeonaire at 12:44 PM on January 5


One odd thing about living in the Spokane area is, we are sort of situated where the land starts to rise out of the Central Washington basin on its way to turning into the Idaho Panhandle Rockies. A lot of the weather which affects everything from Montana to Maine doesn't touch us at all because of how the mountains effect weather patterns. So right now it's unseasonably warm and dry here.
posted by hippybear at 12:45 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Yes...I find the weather patterns in that part of the country (eastern WA, eastern Oregon, and much of Idaho) fascinating and enigmatic. It seems to lack extremes??
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 12:48 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


And no, our dog has now gone 21 hours without taking a dump.

This is the only comment in the thread so far that's made me feel bad for anyone (sorry cold humans!)

Poor little fella! (or gal!) I find myself involuntarily trying to invent cold-weather pooping suits for our lil' pals, or possibly a little plastic tent that's heated by blow-dryers...
posted by hap_hazard at 12:51 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Luckily I got the last few fire arrows left at the store yesterday, since snow like this always brings out the ice trolls in St. Louis. Stay safe, everybody!

At Schnuck's last night, we chatted with this lady who was astounded that there were no more potatoes. "Where are all the potatoes?" she asked. "Guess everyone's stocking up on potatoes!" I said. Welp, that's my winter storm story, stay tuned for updates on the hour
posted by Greg Nog at 12:53 PM on January 5 [17 favorites]


blink dog will poop in the cold, but the snow in the backyard is getting so deep that even his long spindly legs aren't long enough; he can't get in the proper poop crouch and/or do the necessary running in circles that he needs to get things moving.

on preview: i totally bought potatoes yesterday.
posted by misskaz at 12:55 PM on January 5


>>It's the same thing that happened last winter, warmer polar temps creating blocking patterns that push cold air down south.

>I don't think northern hemisphere blocking has been happening much this winter. Perhaps a meteorologist can chime in and verify.

A "Polar Vortex" event implies a northern block.
The cold front, which is predicted to bring temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees lower than average in states that already experience harsh January weather, is coming down from the polar regions above northern Canada. The pocket of cold air, called a "polar vortex," was blocked up north by a high-pressure area that meteorologists refer to as a "ridge," according to Mark Ressler, senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

The ridge has high pressure on both the surface level and aloft, meaning miles above the Earth's surface. The ridge was formed by pools of warm water that have collected near the Gulf of Alaska, according to Joe D'Aleo, co-chief meteorologist at WeatherBELL Analytics. These pools of warm water, which are up to seven degrees warmer than normal, heat the surrounding air and expand it, raising the temperature and pressure, and block air from the Pacific Ocean as it tries to move eastward into Canada.
posted by stbalbach at 12:55 PM on January 5 [9 favorites]


I find the weather patterns in that part of the country (eastern WA, eastern Oregon, and much of Idaho) fascinating and enigmatic. It seems to lack extremes??

Well, the first year or second year I moved here, about 10 years ago, winter had about a month where the highs were in the single digits and the lows were right around -20 every night. That felt pretty extreme to me. Also, the winter of 2008 we got something like 40" of snow over 3 weeks, which was also a bit extreme. But since 2008, most winters have involved moderate temps and moderate snowfall with usually a really cold week in Dec and a really warm week in late Feb. So, that seems to be the norm, at least for now.
posted by hippybear at 12:55 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile here in the Netherlands it has been an incredible balmy winter so far, still wearing my summer coat and t-shirt most of the time and while we have gotten some rain and wind, we luckily have this little windbreaker out in the Atlantic, which you may know as Ireland and Britain...
posted by MartinWisse at 12:55 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Winter storms are terrible for Paleo diets apparently.


Well unless you can hunt some direwolves I guess.
posted by The Whelk at 12:56 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Don't want to bring in the social feed "debate" grandstanding, but I have to admit I couldn't make sense of the headline I saw on a paper newspaper, that SUVs are driving increase in car sales. Until I thought of all the snow on the ground.
posted by saber_taylor at 12:57 PM on January 5


God, the news is so toxic.

channel 3 in kalamazoo announced that the meijer's in battle creek sold out of ground beef and many shelves were emptied yesterday

i went to my neighborhood market this morning and things seemed pretty well stocked

i just don't get it

this is MICHIGAN - we're SUPPOSED to get things like a foot of snow and -5f temps once in awhile - we used to get them all the time in the 60s and 70s

why are the local media and maybe some people panicking over this?

winter storm ION, my ass, this is winter storm january and it lasts all month - 12 inches over 24 hours isn't that big a deal - - 5f to -10f - not that big a deal

all i've got to say to the panickers is 1967

THAT was a storm
posted by pyramid termite at 12:58 PM on January 5 [10 favorites]


I drove from NYC to Montreal right as that storm was coming in Thursday, then got stranded at the Calgary airport overnight on Friday. I am so looking forward to the next week of 7 degrees (45 F) and rain.

ps. somehow I doubt you are a mefite since you seem more like the crazy wandering arctic man type, but extra thanks to the guy in t-shirt and shorts who gave me a cigarette outside the airport at midnight Friday!
posted by mannequito at 1:00 PM on January 5


all i've got to say to the panickers is 1967

When most Michiganders were not yet born?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:01 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]



There is a saying attributed both to Inuits and Norwegians, which is that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

Coldest I've experienced is -60 ambient in the Arctic, plus whatever you even call wind chill in that situation.

In the Inupiaq language the expression for "$&@!? It's cold!" is alappaa, pronounced "a-LUP-pa(aaaaaa)h," with the final syllable held out, and the medial syllable stressed, in iconic relationship to how cold the speaker feels, and with the implied suggestion/command to get moving on whatever has you outside, like finishing your cigarette. (Or that can be made explicit as kitta! -- "let's go," or "come on!")

So now you know how to curse the cold like an Inuit.
posted by spitbull at 1:04 PM on January 5 [59 favorites]


We were supposed to leave Michigan on Friday, and now after several cancelations, will not be leaving until at least Thursday. My boss is pissed, I'm pissed, I love my parents but I'm fucking sick of living with them again.

This sucks.
posted by klangklangston at 1:09 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


When most Michiganders were not yet born?

of course - it's no fun if you try to scare them with something they remember ...
posted by pyramid termite at 1:09 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


All I can say is that I don't care if it's supposed to be pouring rain tomorrow, but I'm taking advantage of the brief warm-up to finally wash my poor car. It's so salt/sand encrusted that I cringe every time I have to touch the door.

Also, this story is pretty hilarious: Local Girl Gets Tongue Stuck to Flag Pole.
posted by TwoStride at 1:10 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


I had a most entertaining walk home from the pool after my morning swim. I was seeking out unshoveled sidewalks, as anything shoveled but not salted was covered in a thin veneer of ice.

On the FB, I have been following the travel path of friends returning to NYC from LA. They are currently driving from Denver to KC, where they hope to fly to Newark via Dallas. Fun!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:11 PM on January 5


spitbull do you still have all your fingers and toes?
posted by bukvich at 1:12 PM on January 5


MartinWisse: "Meanwhile here in the Netherlands it has been an incredible balmy winter so far, still wearing my summer coat and t-shirt most of the time and while we have gotten some rain and wind, we luckily have this little windbreaker out in the Atlantic, which you may know as Ireland and Britain..."
I'm a few hundred km away in Bonn, Germany. Here, the cherry trees are blossoming.
posted by brokkr at 1:18 PM on January 5 [6 favorites]


I'm constantly amazed that the on air "talent" on channel 4 here in St. Louis can say that they're in "Storm Mode" and not crack up at the absurdity every time they say it.
posted by stltony at 1:19 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


What is it about weather that brings out the competitive edge in some people? No sooner does someone post/talk about crap weather than there's a response like 'this is nothing! When I was in Antarctica/the Arctic/some horrific place where -30 is like the tropics we used to go jogging, catch ourselves a seal with our bare hands and drag it back and feast on the entrails all while wearing swimwear.' If it's icy cold and snowing/ice-storming it's miserable and dangerous and it doesn't have to be most miserable and dangerous weather ever to be worth commenting upon or cause suffering.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 1:19 PM on January 5 [10 favorites]


Meanwhile, here in SE Norway we have above-freezing temperatures and rain. We have had one single day of snow so far this winter. The kids were able to ski two laps around the nearest field that day, and their ski gear has been collecting snow ever since.

Earlier I've made fun of people who are not used to snow, but I realized some years ago that I am totally unusable when the quicksilver goes above 35C (95F) so I shouldn't really poke fun at people...

I hope you all are able to stay warm and safe until the weather turns.
posted by Harald74 at 1:20 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Yes...I find the weather patterns in that part of the country (eastern WA, eastern Oregon, and much of Idaho) fascinating and enigmatic. It seems to lack extremes??

Not all, they just happen out of sync with the rest of the country. In fact, the largest 24 hr. temperature swings on record happen in this area. See Chinook winds.
posted by 445supermag at 1:21 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


As a midwesterner, I'm curious why the storms don't get names until they're headed for New York City. Didn't know about the Weather Channel's role in naming, which explains a lot I guess.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:24 PM on January 5 [6 favorites]


It is what is technically known as "COLD AS BALLS" here. Monday is going to be the coldest day in 20 years, with a high of -9*F. My husband thinks he will magically go to work on Monday, with 6" of snow on the driveway (and still falling!) and temperatures TOPPING OUT at 9 below. I'm like, Haha, that's cute, your car's not going to start and definitely nobody's shoveling that driveway.

My district has cancelled school for Monday and Tuesday. Too cold for children to stand out waiting for the bus, with wind chills that will cause frostbite in about 10 minutes. Plus, NOBODY'S CAR IS GOING TO START for kids whose parents might otherwise drive them to school. Because nobody around here has engine block heaters or heated garages, because we only get weather like this every once in a while. Two counties next to me just officially pulled all their plows off the road and said, "Nope, we give up, conditions are shit, don't leave the house." Another couple declared county and state highways closed to everyone but emergency personnel (so if you leave the house, you can get a ticket).

I did tramp out to my (detached) garage through the 6 inches of snow, and then to my birdfeeder, to top it up because the little birds went through the whole feeder in 24 hours (usually it takes them about 3-4 days) because they KNOW how bad Monday is going to suck. They've been mobbing the feeder all day even with the gusting wind and blowing snow, which is not typical; usually they hide out when the weather is this bad, but I think they know that Monday and Tuesday are going to be terrible and they're not going to be able to forage much. As soon as I started walking away from the feeder, the sparrows and chickadees started making their "FOOD FOOD FOOD HERE!" calls and by the time I got my boots off inside there were a dozen birds mobbing the feeder.

If it's going to snow like this on the regular, though, I'm going to have to get taller boots. All the snow fell in my ankles, yuck. I also took a couple minutes to clear the snow in front of the doorway because I have a horror of having the doorway snowed shut so you can't get out to shovel. Then I was like, It is COLD AS BALLS out here, screw this. I'll have to go out one more time tonight to make sure my furnace vent pipe is clear before bed, I am already dreading it. (If it's not clear, the furnace shuts itself down so it doesn't kill you from carbon monoxide but then we might die from FREEZING TO DEATH because it is COLD AS BALLS.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:25 PM on January 5 [30 favorites]


For the weather geeks out there, the live global wind map very nicely shows exactly why it is, as Eyebrows says, COLD AS BALLS out there. Click on the "earth" in the lower left to get wind directions and speeds at different heights in the atmosphere -- I don't understand why the larger numbers appear to represent lower elevations, but they seem to. Oh, wait, I bet that's because it's measured in pressure somehow. Carry on.
posted by KathrynT at 1:29 PM on January 5 [13 favorites]


Ahahahaha I can hear the living room windows rattling from the the bathroom.
posted by The Whelk at 1:31 PM on January 5


The live wind map for the USA shows it in even greater detail. You can see the location of the arctic boundary between Chicago and Columbus. It looks like there might be some kind of portal to hell directly over Indiana.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 1:35 PM on January 5 [12 favorites]


When these stories come up people start talking about things like frozen pipes and engine block heaters and I'm all "snow, how does it work?" (my only experiences with snow are basically snowboarding/skiing, so its always "yay snow" and not having to deal with a house and a driveway and such). If I ever do move somewhere with snow and ice clearly there are basic things I will have to learn...

In LA it's been in the 70's and 80's, we had record-high temperatures around New Years. I think we stole all the warm from you guys, sorry about that.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:35 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Went snowshoeing earlier and bought more beer - the important things! Now we're making chile and cornbread and looking forward to going nowhere. Guess i should go shovel again. It's very wet heavy snow here - the last storm was lovely powder but this stuff is much harder to shovel.
posted by leslies at 1:42 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Is there a single living blade of grass at Lambeau Field right now? Doesn't really look like it.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:43 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


And now, watching the packers 49rs game... Insanity. Glad I'm not in that crowd. Guys on the field are at least breaking a freezing sweat. And no gloves for Rodgers? Jesus...
posted by Windopaene at 1:45 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I still have faint twitches of PTSD from some mid-90s blizzard (maybe it was '96?

DC area. I was there. That sucked. It took a very large and nice Vietnamese family to get me out of Falls Church. I had to plow E Street in my Mazda. And every time you'd shovel out, some jack-ass would take your space.

I'm looking at minus 40 windchill in Western NC. Boy and I dug a sheltered fire pit and laundered all the blankets. We are going to lose power and cook over the fire.

Soaking dried peas and thawing some hocks.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:47 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


We need links to cheeseheads at Lambeau with their shirts off.
posted by bukvich at 1:47 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


And no gloves for Rodgers? Jesus...

Kaepernick isn't wearing sleeves.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:49 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


That live global wind map is beautiful, thanks KathrynT.

bukvich, yeah fingers and toes intact. Ironically, the only place I ever got frostbite was Chicago.
posted by spitbull at 1:51 PM on January 5


We have more than a foot of snow half-melted here, with temps tomorrow topping 53º - it's also going to rain, melting what wasn't melted, and leaving flooded roads, drenched driveways and soggy yards and steps.

Then it's going to drop to 17º tomorrow night, freezing everything, and boy won't the Tuesday morning commute be fun.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:52 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I work at a Trader Joe's in Stl. We crushed our previous daily sales record yesterday. We still had plenty wine, beer, and snacks so I question most of those people's priorities. My wife and I had to work at 5am today, but once we had unloaded the morning truck we took off. The roads were terrible.

The thing is that cities like Stl (and modot in general) do not have the infrastructure to handle storms like this. Cities like Chicago and the twin cities get this stuff every year so they are ready for it.

We've gotten nearly a foot of snow out here about an hour outside of Stl. There are drifts of about 2-3 feet.

I love this stuff.
posted by schyler523 at 1:52 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


That live global wind map is beautiful, thanks KathrynT.

If you take the height up to 70 hPA you can see how bullshitty the jet stream is right now.
posted by KathrynT at 1:53 PM on January 5


It looks like there might be some kind of portal to hell directly over Indiana.

*mind fills with about a million jokey comments to make here, decides to just mention that jokey comments COULD be made here, and let the reader's own brain fill in whichever they think is best*
posted by hippybear at 1:53 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Actually, that live wind map is pretty fucking cool.

See that bit, up in the upper left, where basically nothing is happening but a few gentle streams toward the Pacific? *smiles*
posted by hippybear at 1:55 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Lambeau Field has a heating system below the field to keep the turf warm. From Wikipedia:

The underground heating and drainage system was redone in 1997, with a system of pipes filled with a solution including antifreeze replacing the electric coils. After the 2006 season, the surface, heating, and drainage system was replaced. The new grass surface has synthetic fibers woven into the sod.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 1:58 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


DC area. I was there. That sucked.

Yeah, that same storm, then. After my power had been out for a day or so and I was nearly dead from boredom, I decided to walk to my friends' house - they had power and soup and lack of dying from boredom. The downside was they lived at 13th and S NW, and I was a good mile or so from the Takoma Park metro on the MD side. That turned out not to matter since the metro still wasn't running. I joined the throngs of people walking in the middle of Georgia Ave, which was mostly plowed. Still took something like three or four hours to walk to my friends' because lumpy snow, icy patches, falling down, etc. But at least I got soup.

re the wind map: I love that thing so much. Is there a way to full-screen it?
posted by rtha at 1:58 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I don't think so rtha but I am being truly astonished at how fucked up the jet stream is!! this is the wind at 10 hPA from early november. this is the same layer now. If there is someone who knows more about this than I do who can explain why this is not RIGHTEOUSLY FUCKED UP please do so.
posted by KathrynT at 2:01 PM on January 5 [7 favorites]


stranded at the Calgary airport
Open offer to call me up for an impromptu meet-up if this happens to anyone.
posted by arcticseal at 2:03 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I work at a Trader Joe's in Stl. We crushed our previous daily sales record yesterday.


I'm too scared to go to our TJ's-- four days ago, before we got seven inches of snow, ours was stripped to flavored soy milk and three bags of baby carrots, and you can't even buy wine here. I thought DC was bad but to be honest there's slightly more snow and zero percent more sanity here.

And yeah, the competitiveness is weird-- zero degrees coupled with forty degree swings are beyond unusual for here, just as I can love and appreciate 95 degree days but realize that people in Montreal would be upset with a July made of swamp.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:03 PM on January 5


Yup. This is why I live in the northern...tropics.
It will be below 70 next week (the horror).
posted by twidget at 2:11 PM on January 5


It seems like they now promote a crisis coverage event for things that used to be just thought of as routine weather, like summer thunderstorms. Maybe it is the price we pay for having tools that can locate the dangerous cells in that kind of weather more accurately - it is nice to be able to get high wind warnings in advance, and these storms can generate tornados - but mostly they can be handled the way people have always done: go inside and wait for it to end.
posted by thelonius at 2:12 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


This is the weather I remember from my childhood in Connecticut and the Hudson Valley and I fucking love it, it makes me so incredibly happy, I think I have the opposite of SAD. What was I thinking those few miserable years in the South, when all we had to break up the monotony was the occasional damp squib of a hurricane? Screw that, this is more like it.

Probably my favorite thing about not driving is that snowfalls measured in feet are just as awesome as they were when you were a little kid. I spent this morning riding my bike past all the poor suckers spinning their wheels in the middle of an intersection or digging their cars out. (Although if, as forecast, it doesn't get above -9°F tomorrow, I might stick with the bus.)
posted by enn at 2:12 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


kathrynT---those are spectacular. In the December one, it looks like there is an upper level high pressure system just north of Japan and an upper level low pressure system over northern Greenland. The combination of the two is causing a cross polar flow (I think that is what it is called) where air is brought from Siberia, across the north pole, into Alaska, Canada, and then down into the USA.

I don't know what causes this to happen. But when I questioned the prevalence of northern Hemisphere blocking this winter upthread, I should have been more specific. I was referring to Greenland blocks. One of the most common places for a blocking high pressure system to form is over Greenland. When that happens, it usually gets stormy and cold over the eastern USA because it can force a trough to form in the jet stream along the eastern seaboard. But the December flow pattern you linked to clearly doesn't show that. There is low pressure over Greenland, not high pressure. It looks like this is forcing a trough in the jet stream to set up further to the west over central North America,---so that is where the most anomalous cold has been.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 2:18 PM on January 5


Just got back in from our second 2-hour round of shoveling. The snow falling is easing-up a lot, but it's also becoming much more granular.
Shoveling's done for today. This old body is beat. Beer and burrito time.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:21 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


oh man i was so chuffed 'cause i put on new knobby tires on my wheelchair BY MYSELF and if you are not impressed with that i don't know what to say, only to be undone by my landlord thinking the way to clear ten inches of snow is to put down salt beforehand and just wait for the mush to thaw.

now, right now, you might be asking yourself, is angrycat angry? YES SHE FUCKING IS
posted by angrycat at 2:23 PM on January 5 [31 favorites]


It's winter... a normal, non-wimpy winter, like we had when I was a kid. Why is everyone freaking out? Take a few snow days, and surf the net a lot more.
posted by MikeWarot at 2:24 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


thelonius: "It seems like they now promote a crisis coverage event for things that used to be just thought of as routine weather, like summer thunderstorms. "

For us, none of the individual PARTS of this storm are super-crisis-y (just normal, be-careful-driving crisis-y), but the sum of the parts is unusually bad. We've got six inches of snow (and still falling) and it's blowing really hard, which means (because it is flat here) that visibility is terrible and as soon as the plows clear anything, the snow covers the street right back up. So, that happens, we get a blizzard or two every winter like that. It's dangerous, but an expected level of dangerous for which people are prepared.

What's unusual with this storm is that usually after a storm blows through with this much snow, we get a couple clear, sunny days in the 20s (or even the 30s and it melts!) when we can all go clear roads and driveways. But Monday and Tuesday are going to be record-breakingly cold. Normally when it's that cold, it's "too cold to snow" so it's bitterly cold but clear. People's cars don't start, but ambulances can get to them because the ambulance garages are heated and stuff and there's nothing on the ground to impede them.

The concern is, with all this snow on the ground that won't have been cleared, PLUS the bitterly cold days right on their heels, emergency vehicles will have trouble getting to people in trouble, hospitals won't be adequately staffed, HVAC companies won't have all their techs available and may not be able to get to some houses. It's hard to ask people to go shovel their driveways out of six inches of snow when frostbite occurs in ten minutes so they can come in to work, you know? So if people's heat goes out, they may be very hard to get to to fix the furnace or rescue the people.

We usually have blizzard OR bitterly cold, not blizzard AND bitterly cold, so we have to just hope the two types of emergency problems don't intensify each other. Probably it will be fine? But it's a little unusual so everyone involved in city services is a little nervous.

It's a weird weather system, so I'm sure it's affecting other places in different, but equally strange, ways.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:26 PM on January 5 [8 favorites]


Take a few snow days, and surf the net a lot more.

A lot of jobs today don't allow for snow days. Taking vacation time has to be approved beforehand. And calling in sick requires (and I'm not kidding) a note from your doctor when you come back to work, or your pay is dinged. A lot of people face firing if they don't risk their lives and drive through this shit to get to their minimum-wage-or-barely-better jobs.

I'd be freaking out right about now, too, if my livelihood depended on the crap snow removal in this county.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:31 PM on January 5 [12 favorites]


One of the surprising things to me when I first moved to Houston from New Orleans is on days like these there are messages in the media that if you are homeless we don't want you to freeze your ass off tonight.

Link.

The homeless advocates here actually work overtime collecting people off the streets when it goes under 32.
posted by bukvich at 2:33 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I used to live in N. Wisconsin, and I well remember the stinging cold snaps of January. Maybe not quite this cold. But I remember -40 wind chills for sure. The worst is standing outside to pump gas. And the wind is just nasty. Bitter cold.

My poor daughter had her well pump freeze in the wind and so she's got power but no water until the landlord gets it thawed out.

We've had a few big snow storms and some of the prior below zero weather. I think it was -20 with wind chill of around -35, but it wasn't really windy. Those Midwestern winds come screaming down an open field at you, and you really don't want to go out in the 3 foot deep snow and get the tarp that blew off the wood pile, but you know you *have* to, or it will be buried when the storm comes and if it thaws your wood might get wet.

Not looking forward to the rain/freezing rain/cold again. Ice still on lots of trees here. I was outside this morning and a big crow landed on a popple tree and sent down tons of ice shards. Like I said, it's not the cold, it's the wind. Feel lucky I'm not in the Midwest right now, think people who go to a football game in this weather are fools, but what do I know? I've grown to like my warm indoors and heat and being able to use my water pipes. And heated seats in the car. Sooooo nice.

Hope everyone in the path of this nasty weather stays warm, safe and dry.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:39 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


One of the most common places for a blocking high pressure system to form is over Greenland. When that happens, it usually gets stormy and cold over the eastern USA because it can force a trough to form in the jet stream along the eastern seaboard. But the December flow pattern you linked to clearly doesn't show that. There is low pressure over Greenland, not high pressure.

To be clear -- when you say "the December flow pattern," you mean the contemporary pattern -- the January pattern, right?

So I'm right, and this is completely fucked up. Well, that's troubling.
posted by KathrynT at 2:39 PM on January 5


We also have to remember that more people travel farther than maybe they did back in the day when people walked barefoot in the snow--uphill!--to school. Some of the airlines flying out of Logan in Boston are apparently stranding people for six days before they can get a guaranteed flight. There are people who are going to have desperate negotiations to cover their work shifts. It also wreaks havoc on things like custody agreements (the local news interviewed someone who's unable to send his kids back to his ex for another week, which is great for him and less great for their custody agreement).
posted by TwoStride at 2:40 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Bukvich, good call-- Philadelphia also has an outreach program for the homeless during Code Blue days, as do many other cities. If you're in Philadelphia and see someone in need, you can phone the number here to get them help.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:41 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Oops....yes.....I meant the current (second) pattern you linked to.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 2:42 PM on January 5


The Polar Vortex meets The Panhandle Hooker.
posted by dragonsi55 at 2:45 PM on January 5


Limeonaire, we went to Art Hill. McLausland/Skinker was okay, but essentially only two lane roads. We didn't hit the interstate but it looked unpleasant from the overpass. We went down to the Loop for food and pulled out two cars that got hung up in the plowed snow trying to park. We have a Jeep that's been modded for off road so we didn't have any drama. But I wouldn't have tried it in my car.
posted by teleri025 at 2:48 PM on January 5


Lambeau Field looks like an arid, desert wasteland.

And all the Wisconsinite fans I'm seeing in the stands are decked out in many, many layers of both Packers and deer hunting gear. Lots of woodland camo and hunter orange to be seen. My people - making me proud.

Seattle, OTOH, is merely 45 and sunny. But dry. Unseasonably dry. In fact, the ski slopes have been suffering due to the lack of snow.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:48 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Ii wish we could get some snow here. We've had lots of 40* days with rain that goes straight to your bone marrow, but no flakes. I will be hopeful that the blast coming will at least kill the mosquitos.

I don't understand how they are playing football with bare arms. Isn't frostbite supposed to happen in 5 minutes or something at those temps?
posted by yoga at 3:01 PM on January 5


It was fucking stupid cold last night, okay today, okay now, and will be hellishly cold tomorrow, and I just don't even care. I have been therapeutically stabbed with cortisone in so many places that I've almost forgotten what arthritis feels like and I am going to frolic the fuck out of this winter and no one can stop me.

BRB PRANCING
posted by elizardbits at 3:08 PM on January 5 [19 favorites]


I am really worried that my power will go out. Local weather dude is anticipating a blizzard warning. A foot of snow, wind chills near -45 tonight and the high temp tomorrow around -15. I won't get out of my house for days if this is all true. I live in a rural area and am already plowed in.

I'll be thinking of you, futz -- check back in and let us know how things are going!
posted by vitabellosi at 3:12 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Is everybody staying inside to escape the cold the reason that Netflix feels like it's getting hammered today? Bob's Burgers is mine, leggo my bandwidth!
posted by jason_steakums at 3:36 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


I'm not looking forward to catching the bus tomorrow morning in Minneapolis, but my work won't close for the day unless our clients also do so. Oh well. I have a parka that is usually too warm and a face mask.
posted by Area Man at 3:53 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


My son and his girlfriend both have to work tomorrow, she early in the morning and he later in the afternoon. As of now, the roads in the podunk neighborhood/town they're living in have not been plowed. If that doesn't change, I have no idea how either of them are going to be able to get to work.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:03 PM on January 5


Really? No one? Okay.

Ahem.

Winter is coming.
posted by The Whelk at 4:13 PM on January 5 [17 favorites]


that would explain all the white stuff, wouldn't it?
posted by pyramid termite at 4:24 PM on January 5 [7 favorites]


Sounds like winter already came...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:31 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


It seems like winter comes every year now, Whelk. Why is that?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:41 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I just skyped with my brother in Germany earlier today. He was telling me that this situation is directly linked to why they're having warm temperatures and almost no snow back home.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:41 PM on January 5


Sounds like winter already came...

*hands winter a paper towel* clean up after yourself.
posted by hippybear at 4:44 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


Here in Maine we are strangely getting some bad weather but not unusually cold temps. I mean, really fucking cold, don't get me wrong, but we do get this in January. Accuweather has this idiotic thing where it's constantly telling me it's a bad day for DYI (no shit) but actually it is a good day for some DIY, like finding out where your drafts are coming in and figuring out if your battery is about to die (yup, it was!).
posted by selfnoise at 4:47 PM on January 5


Hoods and hats don't help when one of those gusts blasts down your neckline, damn.

This is why scarves were invented.
posted by HillbillyInBC at 4:54 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


angrycat: "now, right now, you might be asking yourself, is angrycat angry? YES SHE FUCKING IS"

Man, that really sucks, angrycat. Fucker.

My dogs are loving this. We did a two-hour, 3.5 mile walk today, and another 1-miler tonight. The only time they slow down is when there's salt in their paws, and the poor dears limp until I rub it out of their paws.
posted by notsnot at 5:02 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


I dunno, Selfnoise, I did a little fist pump today when I went out wearing a t-shirt, flannel shirt and my hoodie and it was so warm. 40 degrees in October is "brrr!" and 20 degrees in January is "nice!"
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:04 PM on January 5


In our little holler in East Tennessee it is currently 57 degrees and windy. This time tomorrow we are predicted to be at -2. That's a 60 degree swing in 24 hours. There's some precipitation involved, too, but I refuse to speculate on THAT mess.

...and yeah, I know zeroish temps aren't that bad for a lot of people. I would remind you that houses around here don't have insulated pipes, few people own really warm coats or boots and NOBODY has heard of snow pants. Wish us luck!
posted by workerant at 5:05 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I'm not looking forward to catching the bus tomorrow morning in Minneapolis, but my work won't close for the day unless our clients also do so. Oh well. I have a parka that is usually too warm and a face mask.
posted by Area Man


The real bear will be waiting for the bus after work, when Metro Transit's "any deviation from normal weather turns our schedule into speculative fiction" policy will surely be in full effect.
posted by COBRA! at 5:07 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


HALP I AM TRAPPED IN MICHIGAN TRYING TO RETURN TO LOS ANGELES. 3 CANCELLED FLIGHTS LATER HOPE REMAINS THAT I MIGHT RETURN WEDNESDAY (1 WEEK LATER THAN SCHEDULED).
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:10 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Where in Michigan? sounds like an impromptu MeFi Meetup to me!
posted by hippybear at 5:12 PM on January 5


LA is lonely without mandyman and klang.
But I wore a t-shirt out today, so.
Good luck getting home, friends! We have sunshine and t-shirt weather waiting for you when you finally make it.
posted by carsonb at 5:28 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


And every time you'd shovel out, some jack-ass would take your space.

THOSE PEOPLE ARE THE WORST PEOPLE.



The real bear will be waiting for the bus after work, when Metro Transit's "any deviation from normal weather turns our schedule into speculative fiction" policy will surely be in full effect.

I will be waiting for the 16 shortly after midnight tonight. Projected lows around -20F.


If I see a single bus with a NOT IN SERVICE marquee there will be murder*.



* Translation for the hyperbole impaired: "I will be very very cross and extremely cold. I am not a violent person, and even if I were, I will be wearing four layers on clothing on every limb and will be unable to see through the ice on my glasses. Nobody is actually getting murdered, but boy, someone is gonna get the Tweet-lashing of a lifetime, I tell you what."
posted by louche mustachio at 5:31 PM on January 5 [8 favorites]


Also, I should point out that isn't a real bear, that's me in my big-ass shearling coat.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:34 PM on January 5


Good luck, louche mustachio. I'll be out there at 7am in the same sorts of weather.

The real bear will be waiting for the bus after work, when Metro Transit's "any deviation from normal weather turns our schedule into speculative fiction" policy will surely be in full effect.
posted by COBRA! at 7:07 PM on January 5 [+] [!]


I know what you mean. Some of the coldest moments of my life have been spent waiting at a bus stop on Marquette Avenue. The wind just whips down those downtown streets.

I wish my work would, at the least, switch the dress code for tomorrow. "Business casual" pants don't do much to block the wind.
posted by Area Man at 5:38 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


This is why you need to wear snowveralls.
posted by sio42 at 5:40 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


San Diego checking in: tonight, I'm wearing two t-shirts. Alert the media!
posted by SPrintF at 5:45 PM on January 5


I work at a Trader Joe's in Stl. We crushed our previous daily sales record yesterday. We still had plenty wine, beer, and snacks so I question most of those people's priorities.

I WAS THERE

WE BOUGHT TWO BAGS OF ALMONDS AND FIVE BOTTLES OF WINE
posted by Greg Nog at 5:55 PM on January 5 [10 favorites]


I was in San Diego for Christmas. I saw a lady wearing a down coat indoors during a church service on Christmas Eve. It was the oddest thing.

I also saw a guy up in Carlsbad wearing some of the fanciest Winter gloves I've ever seen. He looked like he was ready to head out on a backcountry ski trip.
posted by Area Man at 5:58 PM on January 5


> "What is it about weather that brings out the competitive edge in some people?"

Dunno. Especially since you can hardly call this "weather". I mean, back when I was living on Pluto, I was out one particularly cold day -- the low was 2.5 Kelvin, if I recall correctly -- and I was shoveling the walk when I accidentally cut my finger. All my blood immediately boiled out of my body and then froze into crystals. I had to go inside and lie down.
posted by kyrademon at 6:02 PM on January 5 [32 favorites]


Area Man: "I wish my work would, at the least, switch the dress code for tomorrow. "Business casual" pants don't do much to block the wind."

Dress for the weather and then change at work.
posted by Mitheral at 6:03 PM on January 5


Yes, but were they Wasabi almonds?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:03 PM on January 5



I really have no idea whether I'm going to wake up to can get to work weather or not. Up here it's not going to be as cold as it was last week but the snow is up past my door. The roads may be closed. It's not a big deal as work is good about not being able to get in because of the roads. It happens to people pretty regularly. Most any other time I'd be 'yay snow day!' like a little kid but tonight I'm the opposite. On Friday I got a paid position doing a job that I've been working towards since September. It's exactly the type of job I want to do. I'm all "Nooooo, I want to go to work, dammit!!' It's like Christmas is being cancelled for a day.

Sadface.
posted by Jalliah at 6:10 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


They have closed 94, 90, 65, US 30, 294 and parts of US41 in Northwest Indiana. I've lived in the area my whole life and I can't remember another time that's happened.
posted by bibliogrrl at 6:12 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


they've closed i-94 between michigan city and the illinois border and i-65 from gary to lafayette - other n indiana counties have declared travel restrictions that mean emergency personnel only - a good part of michiana, including benton harbor is now under a blizzard warning

here in kalamazoo, the roads were starting to get fairly tricky around 6 - 2 to 3 inches on main roads, snow plows not really keeping up

i think we've had 14 inches so far - doesn't seem to be coming down very hard right now and the wind has yet to pick up

not sure what i'll wake up to, but i've only a mile to drive to work, so i should be fine
posted by pyramid termite at 6:19 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Near Ann Arbor: I've cleared my car three times today just to distribute the work (and shoveled around the car about 2 yards out), as I really do want to get into work tomorrow and fix a few things. As of the 3rd clearing, I'm thinking we got 7" of snow (clearing off about 2.5" each clearing).

The BBQ sitting outside on my apartment porch has a foot of snow piled up, which is a combined total from today's storm and the new years one.

Roads, I expect, will be messy tomorrow unless the county gets the plows going overnight.

Ugh.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:24 PM on January 5


At Schnuck's last night, we chatted with this lady who was astounded that there were no more potatoes. "Where are all the potatoes?" she asked. "Guess everyone's stocking up on potatoes!" I said. Welp, that's my winter storm story, stay tuned for updates on the hour


That's because when it is horribly horribly cold out, potato soup is the best thing. Eating it and also making it, hanging out next to the stove, spicing and stirring and doing very little except being toasty and drinking a beer as the cats look on approvingly.

We had better have some potatoes. I know we have leeks, which indicates the presence of potatoes and the intention to make a soup of them.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:36 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


I wish my work would, at the least, switch the dress code for tomorrow. "Business casual" pants don't do much to block the wind.

I wore three pairs of long johns. I highly recommend it.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:45 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


It was 65f and sunny on the beach in Pacifica today. I felt a bit guilty thinking about the 100 million+ people in the country who were suffering through the cold and snow.

//spent four long cold winters in Madison before deciding that California was a much better place to live.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 6:46 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Southeastern NC here. It's 61 and HUMID. It will stay in the 60s until tomorrow afternoon, when it will apparently drop to 20.

I went home for 4 days over Christmas to visit my family, who live in northwestern central NC. It was 25-35 the entire time I was there and it RAINED. And I remembered WHY I moved to the coast. I drove home Christmas night and promptly put on a pair of shorts and a t shirt and watched A Christmas Story all night on DVD.

I miss all the stuff to do there, but I sure don't miss the "oh-it's-cold-now-it's-going-to-rain-now-snow-oh-rain-again" and there are ice layers everywhere. My parents, who lived in RI for a few years, but are from the south, say they'd take a RI winter over the ice storms of NC any day. At least you can walk in snow.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 6:54 PM on January 5


I wish my work would, at the least, switch the dress code for tomorrow. "Business casual" pants don't do much to block the wind.

My boss is a vehement Anti-Jean-ist but when I came in on the first possible day after the ice storm (when there was still lots of crap on the roads) it was in jeans and sensible warm shoes. I told him that I just wasn't going to even risk having to push my car onto the shoulder in dress clothes. And he was just glad I was there, and didn't care. It's not like clients were braving the icy roads to make it to our office that day. Your boss may vary, of course, but I would second dressing warm for your commute and worrying about dress codes when you are safely at work. I mean, what if heat wasn't working well at your office or something?

I would also like to rant here that the very old people running my company are still much too wedded to the butts-in-seats mentality to a) invest in the tech to let more of us work at home without crashing the network and b) stop thinking it's ok if you are dinged a vacation day if it's too life-threatening to get to the office. That shit needs to end. But every damn one of them is approaching 80 and doesn't get all the fuss from these youngsters wanting to skirt the rules and work from home and not risk life and limb just to be in their cubicles.
posted by emjaybee at 6:55 PM on January 5 [9 favorites]


Sympathy to those of y'all still in the deathchill. After the nine hundred years (three days?) of that horror here in New England, tonight I strolled around in the 25-degree weather like it was Las fucking Ramblas.
posted by threeants at 7:05 PM on January 5


I don't care if you call it 'global warming' or 'climate change' or 'fear-mongering' or 'the end times' or whatever. The weather for the past few years (three, in my memory) has been fucking WEIRD. All of you are going through all of that, and, as has already been mentioned here, in Northern California we're having record high temps and the driest year on record. This is the rainy season, and we've had, almost literally, no rain. It's skiing time, and there's no snow.

I'm not enough of a scientist to tell you what is happening, but don't pretend to be enough of a scientist to tell me that it's nothing. It's something, and it's fucking weird, whatever it is.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:08 PM on January 5 [13 favorites]


Greg Nog: "At Schnuck's last night"

REGIONAL GROCERY CHAIN HIGH FIVE!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:08 PM on January 5 [13 favorites]


Like hippybear, I'm warm and cozy here in Spokane, but I'm knocking on wood as I say that because we've been known to get some nasty cold times of our own. I'm hoping the electrical grid holds and that all of you stay warm and safe, even if you are on a forced-adventure trip in no-man's land.

I have to say - those wind maps are incredible! Thank you for posting them. On the USA one, there's a gallery of wind maps that are as wild as the current one - especially the March 2012 series - clearly this isn't the first time the country has been nearly blown off the map.

Take care, everyone, and thanks again for the maps!
posted by aryma at 7:10 PM on January 5


Here, it was 65 degrees today. Tuesday is supposed to be 20. And back in the middle 60s by Friday. Shit ain't normal. Everyone be safe.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:13 PM on January 5


I am surprised that my mother hasn't called me yet to tell me to bring in the brass monkeys.

(Here in NC, it was positively BALMY today when I went to the grocery store this morning before church. Tomorrow afternoon we are projected to plummet, temperature wise, and then Tuesday morning 11 degrees BEFORE factoring in wind chill. Not looking forward to that next utility bill.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:15 PM on January 5


Currently 101 and sitting inside with the aircon going set to 64 degrees. I fly out tonight to 70 degrees in Hong Kong tomorrow and then 57 the next day in San Jose. Then I turn around and fly out to 70s weather in LA until Sunday.

It's going to be weird for me this week.
posted by Talez at 7:22 PM on January 5


I'm so glad that I have the ability to work from home tomorrow. So ridiculously glad. All of you out there who have to brave the cold, stay safe and please be sensible.

I've been worried about the homeless population all weekend. Minnesota winters aren't kind at the best of times, but I just can't comprehend how anyone could survive in this without heat, much less shelter. I wish I knew a better way to help.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:30 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


I still have power yay! Dog does not want to go out and I can't blame him. He is content pretending to be a burrito (he loves his blankets).
posted by futz at 7:40 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I've been worried about the homeless population all weekend. Minnesota winters aren't kind at the best of times, but I just can't comprehend how anyone could survive in this without heat, much less shelter. I wish I knew a better way to help.

I don't know if this is a common thing or not, but here the hospitals open their lobbies and cafeterias to anyone who needs shelter from the cold when the temps get ridiculous like this. Really cool of them.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:45 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Currently 101 and sitting inside with the aircon going set to 64 degrees.

Dear god, why? So you can wear a parka indoors?
posted by spacewaitress at 7:56 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


There is low pressure over Greenland, not high pressure.

I may be missing something in your question, but the high pressure that's causing the Arctic air to move down started over the Gulf of Alaska, according to the Mashable article linked by stbalbach. Quoting it again, the high pressure ridge was caused by significantly warmer than usual pools of water:

The ridge was formed by pools of warm water that have collected near the Gulf of Alaska, according to Joe D'Aleo, co-chief meteorologist at WeatherBELL Analytics. These pools of warm water, which are up to seven degrees warmer than normal, heat the surrounding air and expand it, raising the temperature and pressure, and block air from the Pacific Ocean as it tries to move eastward into Canada.

This allows air from the Arctic to sit undisturbed in northern Canada, becoming colder and colder before flowing "like molasses" down south through Canada and into the United States...


The drought in northern California is apparently related, too:

This same high-pressure ridge has been responsible for other odd weather patterns over the past few months, including a drought that has been plaguing Northern California, Ressler said. In San Francisco, for example, just over two inches of rain fell in the past six months; that's less than one third of the normal average...
posted by mediareport at 8:03 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


NOAA has a good page explaining what it calls the "Warm Arctic/Cold Continent" pattern:

In summary, the most we can now say is that loss of sea ice pushes in the right direction to weaken the Polar Vortex and increase the chance for sub-Arctic impacts.
posted by mediareport at 8:07 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]


At least Weatherbug Elite decided at Montevideo, Uruguay is different from Montevideo, Minnesota. As I have the reminder for Uruguay on my phone, I sometimes get the notifications for the latter. Which would be awkward; I do not think that Uruguay is under a Wind Chill Warning, and is 72 F simultaneously.

Though I guess it could happen with 1,000 MPH winds, but that'd be kinda hard to deal with.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:10 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]


The drought in northern California is apparently related, too:

It was a beautifully warm and sunny day here today. Which sucked. I would like some rain. Some snow in the Sierra would be awesome. Friend of mine was at Tahoe over Christmas and was posting photos which looked all wrong because there was no snow. Stupid high-pressure ridge.
posted by rtha at 8:13 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


a fog just rolled into Manhattan so fast and so thick I had to open the window to make sure I wasn't going blind.
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


Seriously, within two 2 minutes I can't see anything outside my window.
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 PM on January 5


Governor Dayton canceled school here in Minnesota, statewide. Not because of snow, but just because it's freaking cold.

Of course, some of us teachers still have to report for work tomorrow, or use sick time to not come in. *grumblegrumblegrumble*
posted by jiawen at 8:37 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


You have windows?!! That open?!! And eyes?!! Heavens to murgatroyd!
posted by futz at 8:39 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Just doing basic errands in the Waukesha Wi area today was like an endurance test; every thing you did outside included an internal countdown to how much longer before you had a problem. I was putting oil in my car and I felt my (heavily gloved) hands slowly turning into inarticulate bricks as I scrambled to finish up.

And tomorrow is supposed to be an order of magnitude worse.

I'm treating it like an actual the-sirens-are-blaring emergency; I have double the clothing that I need, I have provisions, heat packs, blankets, shovels, everything I can think of, just so I can make the normally boring hour ride in and home from work as undramatic as possible.

I've been known to walk dogs barefoot in the snow in winter, and this is too far even by my standards.

As a boss type guy, I'm going to excuse ever single person with the good sense to call in tomorrow. This is the kind of weather that kills people.
posted by quin at 8:47 PM on January 5 [6 favorites]


For the record, it is presently -5° F and -20° with the wind chill.

I believe the word I used when discovering this was a slightly awed "fuck."

posted by quin at 8:53 PM on January 5


I feel like I mention this in every damn comment I make here lately, but I just moved to Minneapolis in November. Friends and family members gave me a lot of shit about moving to Minnesota; being asked if I knew it got cold here got old REALLY fast. Thus, I was pretty determined not to complain about the weather, because who the hell moves to Minnesota and doesn't know it'll be cold? I'm still new enough here that I assumed it always got this cold in January (oops).

It's horrifyingly cold but stunningly beautiful. We saw frozen Minnehaha Falls today, probably one of the most spectacular things I've ever seen. A+++ WOULD FREEZE AGAIN.
posted by timetoevolve at 9:24 PM on January 5 [14 favorites]


And then the muggy Minneapolis summer and clouds of hawk-sized mosquitoes will make you miss the winter.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:40 PM on January 5 [6 favorites]


Quin, barefoot in the snow? Why?
posted by futz at 9:53 PM on January 5


Just walked to the store for some milk and eggs for tomorrow, it was a balmy -21 but the wind wasn't bad. My sinuses are now clean and I finally understand why people might like saunas.
posted by localhuman at 10:09 PM on January 5


As a bit of advice to everyone for sleeping at night (as well as just traipsing around the house, but especially at night). If your power goes out, don't panic! You can sleep perfectly well in your house in below-zero temperatures. What you will need, though, is a plethora of blankets.

I live in Japan, where it is customary to first take a hot (and I mean hot) bath before bed, then cover up with lots of blankets. Oh, and pretty much wear as many layers as you can stand. I have a really soft, fleecy mattress cover in lieu of sheets, two thin fleece blankets, and on top of that a down comforter. I top it off with a small fleece blanket I drape over my head.

When I jump into bed, it's cold. But I don't worry, because I know within 15 or so minutes I will get really warm. It's seriously the warmest part of my day--sleeping at night--and there is zero heating in my bedroom (there's a wall unit, as is the standard in Japan, but it's too expensive to run all the time. Plus Japanese insulation is shit, rendering heating a huge waste of energy.). When I wake up in the morning, the coldest part of the day, I am perfectly warm and toasty.

tl;dr You don't need heating to sleep well; you need layers of clothing and blankets.
posted by zardoz at 10:30 PM on January 5 [10 favorites]


I built a blanket fort around my bed and it was so effective at trapping heat that I ended up overheating and removing my clothing and all but one blanket. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the same room it was cold enough to solidify a bottle of olive oil.

So there's no need to heat an entire house or even an entire bedroom to stay warm. Hang some blankets up to effectively make a tent with your mattress as the base and your own body heat will do a pretty good job heating the space. Bring a laptop into your nest and you'll soon be sweltering.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:40 PM on January 5


Yes, bed curtains. They used to be popular. Apparently Ebenezer Scrooge had a nice set which were stolen by the neighborhood poor after his death.

We lost the concept of bed curtains when we went to central heating, I think.
posted by hippybear at 10:58 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


Every time I glance up from my book, the temperature has gone down another degree. It's so QUIET ... No wild animals rustling, no dogs out chasing shadows after a midnight potty break, none of my night-shift neighbors coming and going, no traffic noise from the nearby highway, even the wind has slowed down and gotten quiet. Its a little eerie. The lack of my usual nighttime noise is making it hard for me to sleep!

It is very beautiful out, if you're only out for a minute or two. The air feels crystalline and the world is so silent and still it's like everything really has frozen.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:43 PM on January 5


Eyebrows: I was in central Illinois in 1993 during the last super-crazy cold spell there. If they're comparing this to that; wow, strength to your arm. That was by far the coldest I've ever been.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 11:52 PM on January 5


Meanwhile on the mediterranean, it's Epiphany! It's a good thing you don't celebrate Epiphany in the US because there is no way the three magic kings could get through all that snow with your presents. I mean, they ride camels for god's sake.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 12:40 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


The way I like to sleep is in a cold room under a pile of blankets, a pocket of soft warmth surrounded by cold air. I'm definitely getting my wish today.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:02 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Holy shit that's a lot of weather-talk.
posted by HyperBlue at 2:32 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Holy shit that's a lot of weather-talk.

Sure. Everyone talks about the weather.
But no one ever does anything about it.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:22 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Sure. Everyone talks about the weather.
But no one ever does anything about it.


TELL THAT TO THE VILLAIN OF 1998'S THE AVENGERS

TELL THAT TO SEAN CONNERY'S FUCKING FACE
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:06 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


You don't need heating to sleep well; you need layers of clothing and blankets.

Bingo. Here in Eastern Canada, we winter camp a couple of times each year. I think the coldest I've ever camped in was -28C, or around -18F before the windchill. So long as the wind is blocked, it can be damn near comfortable. Layering is good - 1-2 wicking layers, 1-2 insulation layers and good socks.

There are a few tricks like boiling hot water and putting it in a Nalgene (or other heat-proofed water bottle) and tossing it at the bottom of your sack which will provide you heat to your extremities. Heat internally (tea, soup) and don't drink too much. Wear a toque to bed, as most of your heat is lost there.

The only problem, really, is having to pee worse than usual as your bladder constricts in the cold, which is a bloody nuisance. If you see empty bottles in the tent - you probably won't find them empty come morning. Put your water bottle separate from the others to avoid any embarrassing situations.
posted by rutabega at 4:12 AM on January 6


This morning in Salem, WI, it's -13°F with 20 mph winds.

When I opened the door to let the dog out, it felt like a hammer to the face. Not just "Brrrrr!," but "Ouch!" (The dog, incidentally, who normally loves to play in the snow, did her business and was back inside in record time.)

Happily, I have no reason to leave the house today. So I won't. (Not even to go camping ;-)
posted by Short Attention Sp at 4:18 AM on January 6


I love this thread. All the little details about how things change in crazy coldness. Like the olive oil going solid.

That's not to say there's no concern for folks in the blast zone. Here's hoping everyone keeps power & cabin fever stays at bay.

& mudpuppie's right: weather has been damn weird for about 3 years now no matter where you are. Our usual oxygen sucking summers of 100* and 90% humidities have cooled detectably, but Raleigh still has this weird bubble where it's always on the edge of whatever blows through east or west. Only now the blow direction is more north or south. Whoever's shaking that ribbon has changed positions.

Ah weather. The lubricant of pub talk everywhere.

cheers, all.
posted by yoga at 4:24 AM on January 6


Currently -22, wind chill of -50 in Minneapolis. It is warmer here than on the planet mars, but colder than the North Pole.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:36 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


-20 in Chicago burbs now. that just doesn't happen. winter happens but that's something harsh..

stay safe up there.

meanwhile we're burning diesel out here when the temps likely won't hit the freeze point until way later today. but we were right at the edge of what could have turned into a nasty ice storm. guess they take those pretty serious in NC
posted by ninjew at 4:41 AM on January 6


What the fuck it's 54 degrees outside.

WHO DID THE THING
posted by elizardbits at 5:11 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


There is low pressure over Greenland, not high pressure.

I may be missing something in your question, but the high pressure that's causing the Arctic air to move down started over the Gulf of Alaska


I don't think there is anything contradictory here. This is complicated because high and low pressure systems exist at different levels of the atmosphere--which can be confusing. For example, hurricanes (low pressure at the surface) prefer to be underneath high pressure higher in the atmosphere. So I was talking about the flow and pressure patterns in the northern hemisphere at the upper levels, which controls jet stream winds. Blasts of arctic air like this are indeed associated with very cold high pressure systems at the surface that do indeed normally originate in Alaska and far northern Canada. But it is the upper level flow and pressure patterns that dictate where those surface features go.

It's horrifyingly cold but stunningly beautiful.

I lived in Mpls for many years and I never saw the falls frozen (not because it wasn't ever cold enough---it was---the 1980's had some brutal winters there). They are indeed spectacular.

+54 at my house this morning (SE Mass). That warm juicy tongue of air from the south has worked its way up the coast over night. But the arctic front lurks just to the west.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 5:21 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


It was 59 degrees earlier and we're supposed to hit a windchill of -10 by late tonight, so since it's also been pouring buckets, I'm going to assume that "roads" will now be translated as "pothill factories" in Pennsylvania after today.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:22 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


WHO DID THE THING

Look, I can only keep the weather machine running til like 6 before it goes critical and takes out a neighborhood ( its in turtle bay don't worry nothing will be lost) use this time to stock up, go to the gym, say goodbye to loved ones, whatever.
posted by The Whelk at 5:26 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


I just got on the bus! I bundled up like this was a trip to the Antarctic (face mask and ski goggles) so it wasn't too bad. It has also warmed up to -21F here in Minneapolis. There are very few people on the bus and the traffic on 35W is light.
posted by Area Man at 5:28 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


so does anybody feel a metaphorical chill as they contemplate our puniness against the face of Mother Nature, who suddenly seems as dangerous as Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, arguing amicably about what Big Macs are called in France one moment and spraying brains against walls the next?

I mean because it was 60 degrees this morning in Philly and tonight it will be about 7, and that is some mighty shit.
posted by angrycat at 5:56 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


Temp has dropped five degrees in the two hours that I've been awake this morning.
posted by octothorpe at 6:02 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


checking in at -26
posted by edgeways at 6:10 AM on January 6


What the fuck it's 54 degrees outside.

WHO DID THE THING


It's closing in on 50 here in DC, but we're supposed to get -5 or lower tonight. WTF, nature?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:20 AM on January 6


Is it all foggy in NYC still?
posted by rtha at 6:46 AM on January 6


Look, I know the megacold's been a pain, but I can't tell you what a boon it's been for my Eastern Front reenectment group.
posted by COBRA! at 6:47 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


The Grande Armée reenactors are also having a great time reliving the invasion of Russia.
posted by Area Man at 6:53 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


It's wonderful to be snug in bed, sure, but when you get up from warm bed into freezing house and need to shower/get dressed, that's torture.

Our heater kept kicking on this morning and yet the house never really got warm. Because Texas houses mostly aren't built for 15-degree days.
posted by emjaybee at 7:01 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I was monstrously bundled up last night and turned the bed heater up to 8, which is pretty oven-y. And then I woke up at 3am because I thought the house was on fire or was being invaded by dragons. But no, it was just 50 degrees outside for no apparent reason. STUPID TRICKSY WEATHER.
posted by elizardbits at 7:03 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Is it all foggy in NYC still?

No but it is as elizardbits says, like ...disturbingly mild. Like it's a trick to get us outside before slamming on the negative a thousand.
posted by The Whelk at 7:07 AM on January 6 [6 favorites]


So cold this morning my car radio forgot the stations I had programmed into it.

I didn't know that could happen.
posted by nickmark at 7:10 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


My Snowy Morning

Well up here in the Great White North it sure is white this am. We aren't getting the bone chilling cold until this afternoon it's a balmy -6 (21 F) right now but is supposed to drop to -30 (-22) with the windchill this afternoon. We did have bone cold last week though.

I checked the road report and the HWY I use to get to work didn't say closed, even though we're under a blizzard warning so I prepared to go to work. I live in the country and have a looong driveway. My car is parked at the end right now. No exaggeration that with the way it drifts I had to wade through snow up to my crotch. The wind nicely packed the snow in around my car up to the bottom of it's windows and the plow had made a nice 4ft high wall between it and the road. Screw the shovel I thought. It's snow blower time.

After a nice trudge back I spent ten minutes trying to get the stupid blower going, cursing all the while at my Dad for refusing to by a nice modern snow blower with and electric start. I did a lot of fist shaking at the sky.

After giving up I trudged back and started shoveling, all the while cursing the glasses gods for making my glasses constantly fog up so I was shoveling blind.

A while later my car was free! I start down the concession and as I get closer to the Hwy it got worse and worse. This is stupid I thought, there's no way it's open and surprise, surprise it wasn't. So turn around I did, parked my car in it's snow slot and trudged back to the house.

After a few phone calls to work which got no answer I'm assuming that no one else is there.

I put my PJ's back on and am now settled on the couch with blankets and hot chocolate. I suppose I could do some work but whatever, metafilter and netflix seems like a better way to spend a day like this.
posted by Jalliah at 7:13 AM on January 6 [6 favorites]


On all the weather apps/web pages, the space to display temperature is two digits. So I've been cracking up that every time I look at the temperature, it's reading "3.4" or "-6.5" as though that decimal of a degree is statistically precise.

"No man, feels like -6.7 to me!"
posted by notsnot at 7:14 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


No but it is as elizardbits says, like ...disturbingly mild. Like it's a trick to get us outside before slamming on the negative a thousand.

Weather.gov says that right now it's about 50 degrees and feels like 50 degrees. Tomorrow morning it will be 9 degrees and feel like -11. NEGATIVE ELEVEN. Never in my LIFE have I experienced such a temperature.

Thanks to the various people in Ask who've recommended Winterdance over the years, though, cause I just read it and now I can be like "well I'm only walking to the subway in -11, not mushing a team of dogs up the frozen Yukon River in -80!"
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:35 AM on January 6


After nearly two weeks of below zero temperatures here in Quebec, Nature decided to throw us an awkward bone by giving us rain and a high today of 39F. But because this is Canada and Canada likes to fuck me over, after midnight tonight, it will drop right back down to below zero for the rest of the fucking week.
posted by Kitteh at 7:38 AM on January 6


Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've never seen a high/low forecast of 57/8. Not normal!
posted by diogenes at 7:40 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


My dogwalking getup this morning was basically the same as Khan's on Ceti Alpha V.
posted by COBRA! at 7:40 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Yeah I'm running out RIGHT NOW to grab bread and rum and cheese and fruit and rum so I don't have to go to the ice moon Hoth for supplies later.

We will be celebrating with some light housecleaning and story pitching followed by hot chocolates and ginger cookies and rum.
posted by The Whelk at 7:42 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


"I would be curious to see how much of this winter storm can be attributed to changes in the Jet Stream."

My understanding is all of it.

Kathryn T posted the coolest thing that I have ever seen. Thanks for that!
posted by QueerAngel28 at 7:44 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]



I'm not even bothering to go out with my dogs. I usually go out to keep and eye on them while they run around the yard. Right now there is so much snow that all they're doing is running around the shed and the camper where there is a track. Off the track it's up to their necks so they just leap around a bit and it's back on the track.

It's pretty funny to watch. Round and round and round and round, ooops to deep, too deep, round and round and round....
posted by Jalliah at 7:45 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Polar Vortex set to ruin your day, with pics!
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 AM on January 6


COBRA!: "My dogwalking getup this morning was basically the same as Khan's on Ceti Alpha V."

Mine too. My wife called me the Corduroy Ninja.

(the dogs lasted about fifteen seconds before the Paw Lift Dance commenced.)
posted by notsnot at 7:46 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


"So cold this morning my car radio forgot the stations I had programmed into it."

Your car battery is going to die. You should get it checked when the weather moderates a bit and see how it's holding charge. They'll do it free at like AutoZone. When this happens to me I'm like, well, I guess I can never listen to the radio again because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT STATIONS I LISTEN TO.

I do not know how face-hammeringly cold it is or if my car starts because I have wisely decided to spend the day in bed. I am even suckering my children into my scheme with DVDs and iPad apps. My cats are acting like I'm the only oasis of warmth left in a frozen world and sticking to me like Velcro. It is SO COLD the cats are willing to share space with the preschoolers.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:48 AM on January 6 [9 favorites]


Polar Vortex set to ruin your day, with pics!

Whoa, seeing such cold temps in lower US states who have had a shitty record of 2013 budget cuts to public assistance programs is fucking upsetting. It'll be bad enough for people who actually have homes and can afford space heaters.
posted by elizardbits at 7:55 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]


A larger list of help-the-homeless hotlines for US cities. (It's not complete, but it also links to a national directory of shelters if your area doesn't have a specific line/211 set up.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:04 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


timetoevolve: "I was pretty determined not to complain about the weather, because who the hell moves to Minnesota and doesn't know it'll be cold?"

Don't worry, native Minnesotans complain plenty. Also, this is bizarrely cold, even for Minnesota. Today may be the coldest it's been since 1996.
posted by jiawen at 8:06 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


That's because when it is horribly horribly cold out, potato soup is the best thing.

I can also suggest frozen raw whale blubber or emulsified caribou marrow in frozen cubes of seal oil.

Caribou soup if you make it home and insist on something hot.
posted by spitbull at 8:06 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


dinty_moore: "It is warmer here than on the planet mars..."

As louche's article points out, it's only colder than the warmest parts of Mars. Still pretty dang cold, but Mars has much colder places.
posted by jiawen at 8:07 AM on January 6


Here in Toronto, we already had our ice storm misery in time for Christmas, but the last week has been pretty cold. I was out with family in Kingston on the weekend and the word everyone kept using was "brutal" as we skidded about on barely plowed roads and parking lots. We couldn't even safely make our way into a Swiss Chalet at one point due to drifts and those horrid surfaces, which is a Canadian emergency just one marker under full tilt Tim Horton Levels Dangerously Low.

The wind was the worst: it was as if H.R. Giger has thoughtfully provided a seasonal face-scruncher whenever we had to walk outside. *scrunch* *scrunch* *scrunch*

It warmed up a bit Saturday, and I joyously rode my bike about Toronto Sunday when it was only about -2C in light winter jacket, light pants with no long underwear and a big, stupid smile. But the freezing rain moved in last night, and I had to hack and salt my front sidewalk this morning in order to protect my neighbours and what's left of Canada Post home delivery.

Great weather year in Toronto: July flooding, Christmas ice storm, post-ice storm flooding (including Yonge/Bloor station Saturday night after a water main froze and broke), and this week's freezing rain and flash freeze.
posted by maudlin at 8:17 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


"Watch what happens when you use a SuperSoaker on a -42°F day"

Spoiler alert: awesome. As I said elsewhere "If it wasn't just physics, it'd be magic."

futz : barefoot in the snow? Why?

Pure apathy, nothing more. Walking my dogs means stepping into the back yard so they can run around like crazy for about ten seconds in the cold, then urgently do their business and get back inside. Typically I'm out for less than three minutes, and sometimes I just can't be assed to put on shoes for something that's going to take that little time.

You can't do socks though, they get cold, wet and uncomfortable. You either have to do the full boot/shoe thing, or go barefoot. Middle-grounds here are actually worse.
posted by quin at 8:20 AM on January 6


Thanks to the various people in Ask who've recommended Winterdance over the years, though, cause I just read it and now I can be like "well I'm only walking to the subway in -11, not mushing a team of dogs up the frozen Yukon River in -80!"

It just happens that over the past month I've been reading a bunch of ebooks by Jill Homer who does crazy things like race 350 miles of the Iditarod trail on a snow bike, and then she goes back and does it on foot, and basically I don't think the temperature has ever risen above zero in any of her accounts of her various Alaska races and it's usually like -25 °F or some crazy thing, and so now I feel kind of wimpy that I'm not outside, like, cavorting around because it's "only" -14 °F (-41 °F wind chill) and I have to remind myself that in my actual life (as opposed to my vicarious Kindle life) this is probably the coldest temperature I've ever seen, certainly the coldest I've seen while it's light out, and I will be lucky to make it around the block without my eyeballs freezing solid.
posted by enn at 8:22 AM on January 6


And now the temperature starts dropping 2 degF/hr... during that part of the day when it should be climbing at that rate.
posted by introp at 8:23 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


FYI, the boiling-water-to-snow thing works just fine at -20. An experiment was carried out.
posted by echo target at 8:24 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Also, all y'all in cold places, be on the lookout for sundogs. I got a photo of one a month ago.
posted by jiawen at 8:25 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


It also works at -15°F. I tried it myself just before I found the super-soaker link.
posted by quin at 8:25 AM on January 6


Sure. Everyone talks about the weather.
But no one ever does anything about it.


For almost two hundred years everyone's been doing things to the weather.
But almost nobody ever talked about it.

Surely this . . .
 
posted by Herodios at 8:39 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Just hit 60º here in East Bay RI, which has got to be some kind of record for January. Very weird.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:43 AM on January 6


My workplace is closed today due to the cold (hooray!), but I still had to go in to call off our volunteers and put signs up, change the phone message, etc. I put two clementines in the pocket of my coat to eat when I got there. It was a 15-minute walk* in -29F with a windchill of -51F. When I got to work, the clementines were pretty much frozen solid.



* easier than trying to get my car to start.
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:43 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Just hit 60º here in East Bay RI, which has got to be some kind of record for January. Very weird.

Record high today for Providence RI is 63, set in 2007.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:48 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I can only assume if it is 50 degrees in New York that the cold is moving across the country Day After Tomorrow style based on how it feels here in Chicago on the other side. I bitch about the cold a lot but continue to live here because I vastly prefer it to too hot. But this type of cold is just... wow.

I tried to walk to the train today and just turned around after a couple of blocks. I am fortunate that I have that option. It's taken me about two hours to warm up again.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:54 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


I can only assume if it is 50 degrees in New York that the cold is moving across the country Day After Tomorrow style based on how it feels here in Chicago on the other side.

According to weather.com's interactive weather temp map, that is pretty much what is happening, yes.
posted by KathrynT at 8:59 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


And I have it on good authority there are wolves downtown.
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 AM on January 6 [5 favorites]


I heard they're on Wall St.
posted by rtha at 9:04 AM on January 6 [13 favorites]


I think it's time for people to make new sigils already, for Seven's sake. Dibs on this one!
posted by maudlin at 9:05 AM on January 6


Out here in Western PA, it was 40 when I went to bed last night and is currently 17 and dropping about 2 degrees an hour still.
posted by octothorpe at 9:07 AM on January 6


We got to see on Mythbusters last night if Luke really would have lived if he'd been stuffed inside a just-killed tauntaun. That was pretty neat.
posted by rtha at 9:07 AM on January 6


I can only assume if it is 50 degrees in New York that the cold is moving across the country Day After Tomorrow style based on how it feels here in Chicago on the other side.

It seems to me from this wind map that what's actually happening is that the cold is going down the middle of the continent, over the Southeast, and then out to the Atlantic and back up to the Eastern Seaboard. So what's hitting New York is the warmed-up leftovers.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:08 AM on January 6


Well, what is the interior temperature of a tauntaun anyway?










LUKE WARM!


I'll show myself out.
posted by KathrynT at 9:17 AM on January 6 [43 favorites]


Wear layers!
posted by spitbull at 9:20 AM on January 6


I dunno, one layer of tauntaun is pretty heavy already - not sure I could walk if I were wearing two.
posted by rtha at 9:24 AM on January 6 [7 favorites]


One of the reasons why this storm is getting so much media coverage is because it happened over the holiday silly season. Weather-related news is also spectacular and is cheap to produce.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:24 AM on January 6


While waiting for the el I watched the temp on a big outdoor Time & Temp switch from -18 to -17. I feel like I have super powers just being downtown, but also eternally grateful for the pedway that turns my three block outdoor walk to a 3.5 block indoor walk with a half block of unbearably windy cold by the Chicago River. I just watched people walk across the bridge into the wind contorted like an illustration of a weird goblin from the Bros Grimm.

Hoping the old furnace holds out at home. I slept downstairs so I could monitor it.
posted by readery at 9:30 AM on January 6


One of the reasons why this storm is getting so much media coverage is because it happened over the holiday silly season. Weather-related news is also spectacular and is cheap to produce.

I dunno man, a drop from 50 to 7 F over the course of 12 hours is pretty newsworthy, isn't it? Plus, sub-10 degree weather south of Virginia? That's nuts!
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:30 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and if it was confined to the upper Midwest, the news would yawn at it, but since it's such a large chunk of the country at once, it's more newsworthy.
posted by ambrosia at 9:34 AM on January 6


It's also because it's affecting a huge swath of the continental US.

(jinx!)
posted by yoga at 9:35 AM on January 6


And you know that North Face and the other major brands are all over the local newscasters to send the people out in their jackets for the obligatory "live from the miserable weather!" newscaster hazing.
posted by TwoStride at 9:37 AM on January 6


And you know that North Face and the other major brands are all over the local newscasters to send the people out in their jackets for the obligatory "live from the miserable weather!" newscaster hazing.

Oh man I wish it was this easy for us to get new jackets for reporters. I should pitch that to my news director :P
posted by jason_steakums at 9:44 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


So cold this morning my car radio forgot the stations I had programmed into it.

I didn't know that could happen.
posted by nickmark at 10:10 AM on January 6 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


this explains a lot. i just got my car back from the garage where they did some battery stuff so i had to reprogram the stations.

when i went out the other day, the stations were all screwed up - there were ones i hadn't programmed and they were all out of order. no one else is in my car so it wasn't like someone was messing with me.

i wonder if it is the cold. apparently it makes iphones shut down as well. which i really didn't bleive until recently.
posted by sio42 at 9:44 AM on January 6


Your car battery is going to die. You should get it checked when the weather moderates a bit and see how it's holding charge.

Huh. Just got a checkup in early November and they said everything looked fine - but I think you're probably right. Thanks...
posted by nickmark at 9:57 AM on January 6


> "We got to see on Mythbusters last night if Luke really would have lived if he'd been stuffed inside a just-killed tauntaun."

... AND?
posted by kyrademon at 10:05 AM on January 6


So what's hitting New York is the warmed-up leftovers.

Yes, exactly. When cold air plunges straight south through the middle of the country, it modifies greatly as it moves east over the Great Lakes, and then over the Appalachains. So places like NYC and Boston will experience nothing like what Chicago is feeling today...not even close.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 10:08 AM on January 6


And you know that North Face and the other major brands are all over the local newscasters to send the people out in their jackets for the obligatory "live from the miserable weather!" newscaster hazing.

My girlfriend and I were absolutely cringing yesterday looking at this poor Weather Channel guy who was stuck doing that. He had a severely sunburnt/wind-chapped/approaching-frostbitten face with sunglasses-shaped tan lines around the eyes. That's cruel.

Single digits here in Nashville but sunny so the backroads are (very very slowly) clearing.
posted by pianoblack at 10:09 AM on January 6


The clear solution to all these problems and more is for everyone to take off from work early and go for a shvitz.
posted by elizardbits at 10:16 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Is the hot rum provided?
posted by The Whelk at 10:19 AM on January 6


And, it's only early January. There's plenty of time for at least a couple more rounds of this nastiness to roll down on us.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:20 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


No, you want some nice cool kvass afterwards. What kind of madness is hot rum inside a banya?
posted by elizardbits at 10:26 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]


I remember that Mid-Atlantic storm of '96. Terminator was on TV. The news people kept interrupting it to tell us that it snowed a lot and everything was closed.

Here in Oregon, after a very dry fall and winter, we're about to get back to our normal 40's during the day, upper 30's at night and rainy weather. Can't wait.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:46 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


This is what I looked like this morning on my way to work.
posted by Area Man at 10:56 AM on January 6 [4 favorites]


Here in Oregon, after a very dry fall and winter, we're about to get back to our normal 40's during the day, upper 30's at night and rainy weather.

Yeah, it's been very dry here in Victoria, BC. It rained a bit in November, but nothing really in December. Not a lot of snow in the mountains north of us either.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:09 AM on January 6


"What's it like to nearly freeze to death? People recount the experience" (Outside Magazine 2004)
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I timed my monthly chicken stock making badly, I usually try for the coldest days in the winter so I can bring a big batch down to temp really really fast on my porch without having it warm up my freezer and today would have been perfect had I not done it a week ago. Stocksicles in like an hour or less.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:46 AM on January 6


For batteries they should really have a doohickey that plugs into the ODB-II port that holds the settings... that's what the guy at Advance had the other day when I got mine replaced, really comes in handy.

Also as someone who recently replaced a battery due to slow cranking... just replace the thing and bask in the luxury of not jump-starting your car at 6AM and -15 degress.
posted by selfnoise at 12:05 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


"What's it like to nearly freeze to death? People recount the experience" (Outside Magazine 2004)

Spoiler alert: FUCKING TERRIFYING
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:09 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


ACK. DO NOT WANT.

I will never again be embarrassed to have two layers of honeycomb blinds on our giant heat-sink like windows. I also will never again live in a place that has 14' ceilings.
posted by yoga at 12:18 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't assume that the folks at the auto store will come outside today and install a new battery for you. My wife bought one on Friday and the guys behind the counter said that store policy prevented them from working outside when the temperatures are so low. (Fortunately, an elderly customer offered to help and installed our new battery.)
posted by Area Man at 12:18 PM on January 6


Explanation of why the Jet Stream is screwed up, and how this is making things cold right now.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:24 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Just watched our new mayor lead two marching bands on a short parade through the streets downtown. Felt really bad for the brass players.
posted by octothorpe at 12:44 PM on January 6


Thanks for the story Whelk. I think I'll stay in til winter's over.
posted by Misty_Knightmare at 1:10 PM on January 6


It's still 42 here in Raleigh, NC but it's supposed to get down to 9 tonight. For comparison, the all-time low for this date is 15 F back in 1988. I have a newer home and gas heat and should be fine, but for those up north consider that:

* Lots of houses here have crappy insulation and old single pane windows.
* Nobody has snow tires or block heaters.
* I just bought a nice down jacket and windproof gloves but many people don't own those things. I just had a medium jacket until real recently.
* Lots of houses have electric heat pumps with little strips that heat up for "Aux. Heat". At my old house that meant a $400+ power bill during an overly cold spell like this - and that was after I had more attic insulation added.

We just aren't ready for this sort of cold ...
posted by freecellwizard at 1:22 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


Polar Vortex Causes Hundreds Of Injuries As People Making Snide Remarks About Climate Change Are Punched In Face
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:30 PM on January 6 [15 favorites]


My mom's basement in Bath, ME is flooding for the first time.

Here in Asheville, it's just cold.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:41 PM on January 6


I will say there were some pretty funny pictures on BBC (I think, maybe CNN) that I can't find now of people dealing with the NE U.S. snow from the other day. One said something like "Woman in Brooklyn Braves Cold, Snow" and showed a well-dressed and -coiffed woman walking along with no hat and no gloves carrying a big Starbucks latte in her bare hand. READERS' DIGEST DRAMA IN REAL LIFE right there!

I guess pictures of homeless people freezing don't generate page hits ...
posted by freecellwizard at 1:43 PM on January 6


My boss refuses to close the office tomorrow because of colds, even though I threw myself to the floor very dramatically and wailed.

i have been the victim of a terrible injustice
posted by elizardbits at 1:43 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


We all deal with the POLAR VORTEX in our own way.
posted by longdaysjourney at 1:46 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]


freecellwizard now I know whose place to crash if we lose power downtown. :D
posted by yoga at 1:53 PM on January 6


liz, i look forward to your tumblr post tomorrow about having to dress up like a cossack to trudge your way to work
posted by ninjew at 1:57 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I know, I can't wait to get angry at tourists asking me if I can speak english.
posted by elizardbits at 1:59 PM on January 6


We have plenty of wine. And movies. And board games ...
posted by freecellwizard at 2:02 PM on January 6


ACTIVATE PROJECT POLAR ANTIVORTEX!

*every wind generator in the country turns towards Alaska and draws power to start pushing the cold air back*
posted by jason_steakums at 2:02 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Mr. Yuck, that reminds me that when Maine got rain on frozen ground, I might have a wet basement in my house, which is closed because I am away. That's the only weather that makes the flooding. Crap.

Sorry to be missing Big Exciting Weather, but it's sunny in Colorado, even after a couple days of cold and snow, and it's a pleasant 30F. Stay warm & safe, everyone.
posted by theora55 at 2:02 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


That's exactly what happened to my mom. I hope you have someone who can check on it.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:19 PM on January 6


Kind of living up to my username today.
posted by COBRA! at 2:37 PM on January 6 [5 favorites]


I had to go Outside. It was awful.

I had to put on SO MANY PANTS.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:45 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


It's not that cold yet in NYC so I just went out like this.


Granted I was wearing my warmest, fanciest gloves.
posted by The Whelk at 2:47 PM on January 6


Underpants/flannel underpants/flannel lined heavy canvas ship pants for me.
posted by The Whelk at 2:48 PM on January 6


WOW

SUCH COLD

MANY PANTS
posted by ninjew at 2:48 PM on January 6 [13 favorites]


do not freeze doge
posted by The Whelk at 2:51 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


CNN criticized for torturing reporter by making her stand amid Mpls' polar vortex
posted by Area Man at 2:59 PM on January 6


Winnipeg here. Currently -28C (= -19F) with windchill at -40C (= -40F; that is where the two scales meet). The only thing that I find unusual about this cold snap is that it started (for us) in December rather than January. Low tonight is -30C (-42C with windchill).

My facebook is full of people:
a) moaning about the cold
b) coming back from a week in Warmland and REALLY moaning about the cold
c) people telling a) and b) to get a grip already

Really, this is not unusual for Winnipeg, we get a cold snap like this at least once a year, usually in January, and it lasts about 2-3 weeks. What's unusual is that this one is reaching so far south. For us, this is business-as-usual.
posted by Quiplash at 3:01 PM on January 6


The marquee of the Uptown Theater is outstanding.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:10 PM on January 6 [12 favorites]


I stepped outside in the -8*F to refill my birdfeeder because that's as warm as it's going to get between now and Wednesday; it was not totally terrible because it wasn't windy, but in the less than 2 minutes I was out there, all my exposed skin starting stinging from the cold.

If you sit by a window you can feel the cold air leaking in, yuck. My FB feed is full of people who are bored after being stuck inside with small children for two days. The news says there were a LOT of accidents on interstates this morning ("hundreds") from morons trying to go to work on highways that hadn't been cleared even a little. I assume that's statewide but I don't know.

Also seeing a lot of Go Home Arctic, You're Drunk and -- bad news -- it has to get a little bit colder before the Cubs win the Series.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:43 PM on January 6


....oh, and it's a dry cold ;-)
posted by Quiplash at 3:49 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]



Ha ha. So the temperature dropped and the snow is now go sideways. Not as cold as it is in places in the US but enough that I guess the wetter snow has done something funky to my door. It's frozen shut! I can't get the damn thing open.

I've put a portable heater in the alcove hoping it will unfreeze. Hope it works or my poor dogs are going to have a problem. The only other door out leads to a 4ft drop. It's waiting for a deck to be built.

Too funny. Love you winter!
posted by Jalliah at 4:33 PM on January 6


If you wait long enough maybe the 4ft drop will be level with the threshold.
posted by yoga at 4:44 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


ha ha ha tomorrow's daytime high has been revised to 12 whole entire degrees

i'm so mad because this is the weather in which i turn into the world's angriest toddler in 500 layers of clothing waddling down the street with snots frozen to my face and my sleeve

and bloody scratch marks on my face where i forgot there were frozen snots on my sleeve and went to wipe again
posted by elizardbits at 4:48 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


"i'm so mad because this is the weather in which i turn into the world's angriest toddler in 500 layers of clothing waddling down the street with snots frozen to my face and my sleeve"

pix plz
posted by klangklangston at 4:55 PM on January 6


i had to work until 7 tonight here in kalamazoo and my car hesitated a little - i thought the wind was very cold and was a little surprised at how cold it seemed - i was expecting it to be cold but not that cold - maybe i'm getting old and less tolerant?

came home and found out to my surprise that it is currently -11f and will probably "warm" up to -3 or -4

at least i'm sure the car will start tomorrow morning

wind chill was -35 - pretty cold, but i've seen worse ...
posted by pyramid termite at 5:00 PM on January 6


sooo this arctic armageddon is like chapter 3.a. in the general climate change apocalypse, is what i'm kinda getting here.
posted by angrycat at 5:20 PM on January 6


Eyebrows McGee: "- it has to get a little bit colder before the Cubs win the Series."

Little detail on that link: -460F is zero on the Rankine, not the Kelvin, scale. -273C is zero on the Kelvin scale.
posted by notsnot at 5:21 PM on January 6


i'm so mad because this is the weather in which i turn into the world's angriest toddler in 500 layers of clothing waddling down the street with snots frozen to my face and my sleeve

Not only do you have to put on pants, it's more than one pants. And that is wrong wrong wrong.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:30 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


> Well, what is the interior temperature of a tauntaun anyway?

36F and falling rapidly, according to the National Weather Service.
posted by Westringia F. at 5:32 PM on January 6


Not only do you have to put on pants, it's more than one pants. And that is wrong wrong wrong.

When everyone was looking, elizardbits
wore forty pants. She wore 40 pants.
That’s as many as four tens.
And that’s terrible.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:32 PM on January 6 [7 favorites]


Another very cold day predicted for Minneapolis. The governor declined to cancel schools state-wide again, but most school districts are going ahead and cancelling school on their own.

I don't have to go back to work until next Monday (Yippee !!), so I'm staying safe and warm inside with lots of layers and blankets. Still too cheap to turn up the thermostat.

My new favorite hot beverage made entirely with on-hand pantry ingredients:

1 or 2 heaping teaspoons of Medaglia d'Oro instant espresso powder (here in the Twin Cities, they sell this at Lunds/Byerlys). Lots of Vanilla CoffeeMate (I like the regular one with sugar, not sugar-free). A few shakes of Pumpkin Pie Spice. About a quarter or a half a teaspoon of ground cardamom, and a pinch of ground ginger. (adjust all these amounts to your own taste.) Combine in a 12 to 16 ounce coffee cup with boiling hot water. Stir well and enjoy.
posted by marsha56 at 5:38 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


That sounds good but I am SO not going to the store.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:46 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to write a nasty limerick about this weather thing. What rhymes with vortex?
posted by sidereal at 5:48 PM on January 6


CORTEX omg

WAKE UP SHEEPLE
posted by elizardbits at 5:48 PM on January 6 [12 favorites]


That sounds good but I am SO not going to the store.

Me too. It's all about inventing new things based on what's already in your own pantry.
posted by marsha56 at 5:49 PM on January 6


Another thing that is bad? When your butt itches and you are wearing so many layers you cannot find your butt.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:51 PM on January 6 [11 favorites]


Gore-Tex
posted by angrycat at 5:53 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]


There was a young man named Cortex,
Who dressed up to the nines in Gore-Tex,
But try as he could,
It did him no good,
He was popsicled by the icy vortex.
posted by Thing at 5:57 PM on January 6 [18 favorites]


If you put a guy in your limerick named Tex, there are tons of words that rhyme with "Vor".

As in the following partial very bad rhyme:

Haven't you heard there's a Polar Vortex?
Hurry up and shut the door, Tex!
posted by marsha56 at 6:07 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


counties west of kalamazoo have announced they pulled their road crews off the road at 5 or 6 pm today - so anyone who travels off the freeways or state highways is probably severely screwed - many side roads out in the country are just plain impassible right now

i don't believe county road crews have given up for decades
posted by pyramid termite at 6:11 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Another thing that is bad? When your butt itches and you are wearing so many layers you cannot find your butt.

"The problem," he said,
With a shake of his head,
"Is I can't find my ass with both hands"
posted by sidereal at 6:11 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


POLAR VORTEX anagrams

Tarp over lox
Roar vex plot
Lax rover pot
posted by yoga at 6:26 PM on January 6


Also, I think there should be a calendar that has 12 photos of bundled up unidentifiable MeFites on it. Could be refreshing in August.
posted by yoga at 6:36 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]


It's a balmy 5 degrees with windchill here, I am wearing two pairs of pants, one cashmere throw, and one full blanket inside the house and yet somehow it still sounds like a million souls of dead house elves are knocking through the windows what are your secrets Chicago how are you all alive still
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:23 PM on January 6 [8 favorites]


I've been getting weird hives the last couple nights. My SO's theory is that I'm breaking out after sweating from wearing too many layers. WTF? How can this be the day I sweat too much?
posted by Area Man at 7:28 PM on January 6


Just to put things into perspective. The low temperature today in Minneapolis was -23 F. This graph shows the lowest temperature reached each year over the last 50 years. Note the extreme cold back in 1996 (below -30 F) and the extreme cold in general during the 1970's. Today's temperature in Mpls is rather ho-hum when viewed through this lens.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 7:34 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


In the blizzard, his phone on "Ignore Texts",
So lost in the Vortex was Cortex,
That he walked in a mania
To the hills of Albania,
And ai vdiq në një ortek.
posted by kyrademon at 7:38 PM on January 6 [8 favorites]


Today's temperature in Mpls is rather ho-hum when viewed through this lens.

I do agree with this. I was in my teens and had just moved to Minnesota when we went thru the super cold 70's, and have always thought of that as what normal cold Minnesota winters used to be. It's just that we've gotten so far away from that norm for so long, that these cold snaps, when they do reappear, are such a shock to the system.
posted by marsha56 at 7:48 PM on January 6


Too many mefites with too much alcohol and nothing else to do. Shit's getting weird here.

In NOLA you will soon need exponential notation to even discuss things like burst pipes. Yeah it's balmy at 15 degrees compared to you guys up north but we have no defenses at all. Most people don't even understand the hazard. There are people of voting age here who have never experienced a freeze hard enough to burst their house pipes, and nobody has ever had any reason to warn them until now, when they will take it with their usual hurricane warning dose of salt.
posted by localroger at 7:51 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


This is still pretty cold, even by Minnesota standards. Paul Huttner at MPR says the coldest temperature ever recorded at MSP airport was -25 and today it got down to -23. So, not a record, but close.

It should be up to zero by tomorrow afternoon. That will be nice.
posted by Area Man at 7:57 PM on January 6


Paul Huttner at MPR says the coldest temperature ever recorded at MSP airport was -25 and today it got down to -23. So, not a record, but close.

The temperature at the airport dropped to -32 F in 1996, and has gone below -25 F numerous times over the years as the graph I posted shows.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:02 PM on January 6


Then maybe it was the record cold for January 6th.
posted by Area Man at 8:06 PM on January 6


That is what I was thinking as well, although the NWS indicates that the record low for today is -27 F.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:08 PM on January 6


jetlagaddict: "what are your secrets Chicago how are you all alive still"

Rekindled hope of Cubs winning Series now that Hell has frozen over, basically. Futile hope keeps us warm.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:09 PM on January 6 [6 favorites]


But "ho-hum" doesn't mean it wasn't super cold. I remember some of those -20ish days when I lived in Mpls in the 1980's....no fun. In fact, I remember one such morning vividly. I had to go downtown to pay a parking ticket. And I locked the keys in my car at a meter, with the motor running. Then the meter ran out and I had no change. I went into the office where I paid the ticket and asked if I could call my housemate....which they allowed me to do. Then I waited, in the lobby, for him to arrive with my spare key. But then the meter reading person came down the street and wanted to give me a ticket. I ran out to the car and explained my predicament. She didn't give me a ticket, but she demanded that I wait by the car in the -25 air, not in the warm lobby. I guess that was my punishment.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:21 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


The thaw yesterday and then the arctic blast today has proved to be a kickass pothole generator on the streets around here. I almost rammed the curb tonight trying to do a last second swerve to miss a crater in Penn Ave. that could have swallowed half of my Honda Fit. I lost a tire and my alignment to a pothole two years ago; that cost me like $350. The next few months of driving aren't going to be fun.
posted by octothorpe at 8:34 PM on January 6


A phalanx of mice just assaulted my kitchen and made off with a Latke. I'm going to let it go this time. They're cold too.

What really concerns me are the horrible noises coming from below the house. I had a fox in there before and we worked things out. This sounds much bigger. Thwapping the support beams. Please no bear in there.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 8:37 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


Friday is the first day forecast to have a morning low above zero. Can't wait.

I'll be singing:

Ode to Polar Vortex (shamelessly plagiarized from The Cyrkle)

I always knew I'd bid you farewell
There's a lesson to be learned from this and I hope you learned it well.
Now I know you're not the only forecast in the sea.
If I never hear your name again, it's all the same to me.

And I think it's gonna be alright
Yeah, the worst is over now
The morning sun is shining like a Red Weather Ball.

(... got nuthin' for the second verse, sorry ...)

The story's in the past with nothing to recall
I've got my life to live and I don't need you at all
The roller-coaster ride we took is nearly at an end
I bought my ticket with my (frozen) tears, that's all I'm gonna spend

And I think it's gonna be alright
Yeah, the worst is over now
The morning sun is shining like a Red Weather Ball.


Note: A Red Weather Ball (a long gone Twin Cities relic) forecasts warmer temps ahead (no blinking please), brought to you from the folks who went on to become Wells Fargo (I know, booo!!!)
posted by marsha56 at 8:58 PM on January 6 [2 favorites]


Made it to Florida on one of the last JetBlue flights from NYC. Only delayed 7.5 hours! At least we all lived.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:06 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


Negative 18 out there right now, and I haven't been out of my parents' house in two days.

If only the basement was warmer, I could live the internet dream of being a shut-in with high speed internet.
posted by klangklangston at 9:37 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]


It's just that we've gotten so far away from that norm for so long, that these cold snaps, when they do reappear, are such a shock to the system.

This. One state over in Wisconsin. The winters of my youth were much colder. It didn't help that the last few winters were mild, with one exceptionally mild to the point of an 80 degree day in february. But even excluding those, we haven't had the prolonged deep freezes since the 90's. But since the aughts, you can usually expect a week or two of single digit days and negative nights. Usually alongside a week in the 40s. Because Wisconsin.

I realized during the dropping temperature on Sunday that I had no thermal underwear, which were a necessity in my youth. I wore some sweater tights (old ones, when they still were thick like sweaters) unter my jeans and hobbled together a variety of layers to make a good go of pre polar vortex shopping (temp was single digits and dropping but not quite a frozen wasteland yet) . But it was a sad affair. Even my (faux) fur lined boots were more for style than function. Being suede (yes, real suede but faux fur, what is this world coming to), they don't hold up against slush, dirt, salt or pretty much looking at them wrong so I rarely break them out.

We did have one of these polar fronts a couple years back that wasn't quite as bad; it didn't dip down as far south nor get quite as cold. Was that last year? The year before? I remember IIRC, it was similar circumstances where cold had built built until it overwhelmed something then came pouring South.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:08 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I would really like to read a paper on health effects of dramatic weather and how it is affecting medication use.

If I didn't have a mega-huge Imitrex prescription and also back-up medications, I would be full of migraines for the past two weeks or however long this *freezing* *balmy* *freezing* shit has gone on. I'm fine, because I have medication and a fine neurologist. It's taken years of my complaining about migraines to docs to get to that place, though.
posted by angrycat at 12:18 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


also -22 with the windchill in Philly right now.
posted by angrycat at 12:25 AM on January 7


Welp, looks like I picked a good time to move to the desert. I mean San Francisco.
posted by en forme de poire at 2:42 AM on January 7 [3 favorites]


Been awake for an hour and haven't heard a single neighbors get in their car to go to work and just now heard the first car drive down the street since six. Eerie.
posted by octothorpe at 3:56 AM on January 7


ha ha it's -13

im mad
posted by elizardbits at 6:22 AM on January 7


-13 means you can just go ahead and put that rum in your coffee now.
posted by The Whelk at 6:23 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


It has risen to -11 here - was -14 when I got up - a heat wave! But super windy out. How are the southern mefites coping? We midwesterners have houses that are insulated and heated for this kind of weather unlike the south.
posted by leslies at 6:35 AM on January 7


some of us have JOBS okay
posted by elizardbits at 6:36 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Oh like your job is so important you can't have a little island pick me up. Sheesh.
posted by The Whelk at 6:40 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Went down to a balmy 9* in Raleigh last night. Friends up in NW NC dug in for -9* & insane wind in their little valley. Those 10 degrees seem more like 100.

Haven't been outside yet this morning as pooch duty was accomplished by the other half.
posted by yoga at 7:19 AM on January 7


I went out in yoga pants and an unzipped hoodie for what I thought would be a couple of minutes of scraping at the newest bit of snow over the ice and putting down salt with a sigh, but I found that my weakass plastic shovel was actually able to work off some chunks of ice. So I stayed out for 15 minutes getting every damn bit off my sidewalk before I put down the salt (which, luckily, was still on my porch).

The house across the street shielded me from the worst of the wind, but man, my light gloves weren't enough to keep my fingers from freezing. I hope the mail carrier who will probably skip my house AGAIN today appreciates the effort.
posted by maudlin at 7:29 AM on January 7


At some point the furnace might stop running but it seems to have been going all day so far. Probably related to the fact that the windows in this house were installed when U.S. Grant was president.
posted by octothorpe at 7:31 AM on January 7


And oh yeah, it appears that my garage door entry pad froze up real good earlier this morning. I had popped around back while shovelling this morning to see if my metal gardening shovel would work on things before my plastic shovel stepped up, but I couldn't open the garage door.

I just now went out the back door and checked the garage's interior switch, which worked fine, but then I couldn't get back into the house because my back door's screen door handle had frozen shut and would not let me back in no matter how much I hammered at it. So back out through the garage, down the pathway, and around front to let myself back in. Clothing report: yoga pants, long sleeved shirt, no hoodie, no gloves. Yeah, cold.
posted by maudlin at 7:39 AM on January 7


I dressed in such a way that every part of me was well-insulated except my FOREHEAD. And yes I was wearing a hat which covered my forehead.

My brain hurts.

I wonder if it would be too cruel to order delivery tonight.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:47 AM on January 7


Tip big.
posted by elizardbits at 7:51 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Oh man, the CBC just interviewed a guy at my local Canadian Tire where I got my current Big Box o' Salt. He was bemoaning the current salt shortage, so maybe I should bring in my box for safety from my dangerous, pining neighbours. I can leave out some bacon to appease them.
posted by maudlin at 8:06 AM on January 7


Checking in from the South! It is 36 degrees out now with a wind chill of like 19 or something and for us in Florida that is mind-blowing. The sun is shining and it looks deceptively lovely outside my windows but I know the Cold is out to get me so I am huddling inside with my nice hot oatmeal, my cats and my warm socks. We do have heat down here, actually, since most houses are equipped with central AC and heat.

I texted both my kids (in college across the state) on Monday morning about the front coming through so they would have time to do laundry and could layer up those sweaters. Most of us here have a few cold-weather outfits and that's it, not loads of seasonal wear like you all up in the North.

Fortunately my youngest son has a nice warm hat his girlfriend bought him for Christmas (man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything!), and being college students of COURSE they both have hoodies, but I think they only have one pair of gloves between them. And they ride their bikes to school, so naturally I worry!
posted by misha at 8:17 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


predictably i am dressed cossackily enough to make my wide array of himalayan coworkers giggle at me and ask me if i want to call for my horse
posted by elizardbits at 8:27 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


its weird for me cause i'm used to real northern-style cold so 20 degrees and sunshine with no wind doesn't actually feel cold to me. i just hopped in the car in my pj's to run some errands. but at the same time i have never dealt with cold very well; i never actually got used to it i just didn't have a choice because it's a fact of life for 6 months where i grew up. so i don't have the same perspective that others do here, and for them this is actual cold. but the thing about 20 here vs 20 up north is that it lacks that 'bite' to it that you get from real arctic air.

they closed schools here yesterday. it was still above freezing until last night. i want to see what happens when it does snow, because it does happen occasionally. i want to see the mayhem.
posted by ninjew at 8:30 AM on January 7


Important Cold Question!

Hey guys, if I take my Adderall XR with hot tea will I get hyper all at once, start gibbering and spin around the room like the Tazmanian Devil? Crazy Meds doesn't say.

Because that would be cool.
posted by misha at 8:44 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Ah, lake effect.

It's 3F where I am with lovely bright blue skies; less than an hour's drive north of here a shit-ton of snow is coming down on the Tug Hill plateau to the tune of an expected five feet. You can actually look north and see it happening from here.

I have co-workers who could not come in due to this phenomenon. Yet here at the office the ground is completely bare.

I love living in Central New York.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:44 AM on January 7


If I haven't slept well/am sick and I take my XR with caffeinated tea I sometimes get a little punchy &/or breathless for about 30 minutes or so. On a regular day of regular sleeps and regular health the combination has the usual effect of making me take a nap.
posted by elizardbits at 8:47 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


"I wonder if it would be too cruel to order delivery tonight."

We did last night. Dude was an hour late and we still tipped big.
posted by klangklangston at 8:51 AM on January 7


And -3° here.
posted by klangklangston at 8:54 AM on January 7


I decided to see what would happen if I opened the bathroom window after a very hot shower and it looked like my apartment was hemmoraging ghosts.
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 AM on January 7 [5 favorites]


got yesterday off work, put booties on my dog for the entertainment factor, kept the chili on the stove and munched on it all day, had a generally good day. (and actually, although we put the booties on to see what he would do, mr. snoot really did need them. one bootie fell off during his backyard shenanigans and he was limping within about 90 seconds.)

but today i had to go to work. let me tell you, it was really fun to find my shampoo, which sits on a tiled window ledge in front of a glass block window, FROZEN TO THE TILE this morning. i keep my conditioner bottle upside-down and the flip-top was frozen shut.

my oh so haute commuter style this morning. i wore snow pants to work for the first time ever.
posted by misskaz at 9:28 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


Supposed to be 72 and sunny here today, how are you guys doin'?
posted by Justinian at 9:34 AM on January 7


Everyone who linked to videos of people throwing boiling water into freezing air: look what you have wrought!!
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:34 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Guys I just stepped outside barefoot to take the recycling out because it's only two steps out the door and THIS WAS A BAD DECISION and I spilled the recycling and had to pick it all up and it's been 10 minutes and my feet still feel like they're on fire what I'm saying is, don't go out barefoot when it's zero degrees I think the cold is affecting my decision-making ability.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:49 AM on January 7 [6 favorites]


If they are sweaty your feet can freeze to the pavement and then you are fucked.
posted by elizardbits at 9:52 AM on January 7


It is a well-known fact that in extreme cold, your brain retracts into your torso to keep warm, and is therefore less available for proper decision-making abilities.
posted by rtha at 9:57 AM on January 7 [11 favorites]


Um, rtha... that's not your brain.
posted by Westringia F. at 9:59 AM on January 7 [5 favorites]


Democracy Now: Weather Whiplash: As Polar Vortex Brings Deep Freeze, Is Extreme Weather Linked to Climate Change?

From Sandy to Haiyan, Year of Extreme Weather Brings More Coverage of Climate Change
posted by homunculus at 10:20 AM on January 7


Stewart Rips Fox on Global Warming: ‘Your F*cking Opinion’ Is Not as Valid as Scientific Fact!
posted by homunculus at 10:20 AM on January 7 [2 favorites]


It's not my brain? Then how come I can think with it?


Oh, wait. that explains a lot.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:47 AM on January 7


This your brain on cat.

Hope everyone is warm.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 11:10 AM on January 7


It's Officially Too Cold for Lincoln Park Zoo's Polar Bear.
posted by sldownard at 11:25 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


Firefighters rescue frozen ducks.
posted by maudlin at 3:10 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


The amount of joy in the first dog almost warms my frozen self: Pictures of pets either frolicking in the snow or buried under blankets/hogging the heat source.
posted by TwoStride at 3:58 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


It is a well-known fact that in extreme cold, your brain retracts into your torso to keep warm, and is therefore less available for proper decision-making abilities.

If you anticipate extreme cold you can also tape your brain down. Just don't use duct tape, because it's a bitch to remove.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:16 PM on January 7


Got up to 21F here today. I had the window in my truck down. Whoooo!

(lots of people stuck on not-even-icy-just-snowy streets. I used the front hooks and rear ball on my truck once each to pull people out.)
posted by notsnot at 5:43 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


It is a well-known fact that in extreme cold, your brain retracts into your torso to keep warm, and is therefore less available for proper decision-making abilities.

As do the testicles. The danger is that they might switch places when they get warm enough to come back out.
posted by homunculus at 6:10 PM on January 7


(Please, please don't use a ball hitch for pulling out stuck vehicles. I went to college with a good friend who used to do this. During a normal pull the ball broke and unleashed the massive amount of stored energy in the pull strap, delivering the ball through the windshield and into his face. He had two surgical plates and no sense of smell because of the massive reconstructive surgery involved. This is, according to his research during recovery, not a terribly rare event in off-roading and winter-assistance circles, though apparently direct strikes are. It takes only a moment longer to wrap the strap around a frame element or the hitch carrier.)
posted by introp at 6:14 PM on January 7 [1 favorite]


(ok, I didn't just use ball, but rather use the entire hitch carrier/ball assembly.)
posted by notsnot at 7:11 PM on January 7


(High five! Ow, that stings at 8 F!)
posted by introp at 7:14 PM on January 7


MetaFilter: If only the basement was warmer...
posted by hippybear at 7:46 PM on January 7


Hell has frozen over (via WDIV in Detroit)
posted by JoeXIII007 at 7:57 PM on January 7


Hell has frozen over

Enh, it does that every year. (I've actually been there. Cute town.)

It is currently 0 in Toledo. Up from -17 when I got up this morning. Whoo, heat wave!
posted by MissySedai at 9:19 PM on January 7


Hell froze over today. (Not about the town above.)
posted by immlass at 9:34 PM on January 7


Peeing outdoors during the polar vortex. First you have to watch them throw boiling water, though. (Reasonably SFW as you see no actual peen, but they do talk about the cold being "bullshit.")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:48 PM on January 8 [1 favorite]


So we still shouldn't eat the yellow snow?
posted by arcticseal at 2:57 PM on January 8


I think that poor man must have a wicked fever, or else he has a squeeze bottle of very hot water tucked into his pants. Body temperature fluids don't behave like that in very cold temperatures. All those people successfully and less than successfully doing this trick with water are using boiling water.
posted by maudlin at 3:56 PM on January 8


I know this is an awful thought, but has anybody sought to guess the excess mortality from this freeze?
posted by Thing at 4:31 PM on January 8


Ok, so he peed outside. Supposedly. Ohmigawd. That's like me, every other night, when my boy dog doesn't get the picture ("C'mon! I want to get to bed!") in short order.

Two nights ago, at -7, I peed my name in the snow.
Yesterday morning, Frankie dotted the "i" for me.
posted by notsnot at 7:14 PM on January 8


Well now I need to borrow someone's dog for important peeing research but I think I'll just go on believing the video was real because it was hilarious.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:47 PM on January 8


Finally got my car out of the driveway today. Last night someone took out 30 feet of my fence with their vehicle and took off. Thanks fellow human!!!
posted by futz at 3:18 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


what if it was drunk cats out joyriding though
posted by elizardbits at 3:29 PM on January 10


hmm. nope, doesn't make it any better. There were dog paw prints in the snow leading away from the wreck (seriously) and all the way to my front porch where said dog had a nice pee. So, in conclusion, drunk joyriding dogs.
posted by futz at 3:42 PM on January 10


What caused a 10-year winter starting in 536?
posted by homunculus at 3:51 PM on January 20


Cold
posted by homunculus at 1:40 PM on January 25


Visualizing the Latest Arctic Blast
posted by homunculus at 4:09 PM on January 29


what if it was drunk cats out joyriding though

As I have suggested to you before, that was probably not a cat.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:18 PM on January 29


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