Disaster Zone

Polar Vortex — Cold Emergency

Global warming and record cold temperatures.

by Eric Holdeman / January 29, 2019

You might think that with global warming we would not have to deal with the extreme cold that is beginning to envelop the Midwest and Eastern portions of the United States. 

I follow the temperatures in my hometown of Freeport, Ill., and the forecast is for the low on Wednesday to be 32 below zero. The coldest I can remember there growing up was -20. I also served in the United States Army and was stationed in Sparta, Wis. The coldest temperature there was -30 and they are predicting -36 on Wednesday. Note, these are not windchill temperatures.

Those temps are dangerously cold for anyone who is working outside, for livestock, for someone stranded on the side of the road, etc. The one thing I can tell you is that the "core heaters" that used to be put on car engines are about the only thing that will get your car started in the morning, along with a can or two of HEET in the gas tank to keep your gas line from freezing. Weak batteries will also be quickly revealed.

It is very appropriate that governors have declared cold emergencies for their states. People and agencies need to be focused on the issue. Heating companies will also need to be "cranked up" since any furnace failures can really lead to death.

For the record, the forecast in Seattle is for a low of 32 and a high of 45 for today ... sorry!