January brings weather challenges for everyone

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

We’ll soon be halfway through January, but weather is a serious business of winter. Thus far, January has soothed us with warm temperatures and a lot of sunshine, and there has been rain, but only a glimpse of snow.
You can always discount some of the other winter months. December is more fall than winter as winter doesn’t begin until Dec. 21. The same is true with March as spring begins March 20. February usually has some warm days, plus it is a short month. But, January is a full winter month.
Remember when there were lots of snow days in January, sometimes for a week or two at a time. Kids made snowmen, went sleigh riding, and there was no homework. We all can remember winters when there was snow after snow, leaving students to wonder if they were ever going back to school.
The month of January can be one of high impact weather.
Large parts of North America have been gripped by an influx of Arctic air. Combined with gusty winds, it has produced dangerous wind chills across a significant portion of the Upper Midwest into the Northeast USA. The frigid airmass is also supporting heavy lake effect snows downwind of the Great Lakes. The temperatures during Christmas were well below average over the Upper Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, into parts of the Northern Mid-Atlantic.
The bitterly cold temperatures are caused by the influence of the Polar Vertex. This is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the North Pole, with strong counter-clockwise winds known as the jet stream that trap the cold around the Pole. Disturbances in the jet stream and the intrusion of warmer mid-latitude air masses can alter the structure and the dynamics of the Polar Vortex, sending Arctic air south into middle latitudes and bringing warmer air into the Arctic. This is not a new phenomenon, although there is increasing research into how it is being impacted by climate change.
While there are snow days, generally, there are no snow days for adults. Work goes on even though snow-covered roads can play havoc with getting to and from work.
Snow can be fun when you’re young, but as we get older we begin to dislike the snow and cold months more and more. Thus, you can fully understand why many older people move to Florida when they retire or at least move there for the winter.
Winter often brings frozen water pipes, power outages, and oftentimes, the flu, colds, runny noses, and coughs. Thus, it’s that time of the year when you bring out the Vicks VapoRub.
While milder weather is in the forecast for the next day or so…winter returns for the weekend with some snow flurries in the forecast.
So, keep your coat, boots, and scarf close by as you may need them before the week is over.
The weather: it’s always a good subject to talk about, and it’s always with us be it January or June. Before you know it, spring will be here…so for the time being, enjoy winter!

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