On Friday we had what has been referred to as a “Polar Punch.” Cold air from the Arctic blew into New England, and in central Maine the temperature dipped to -23°F, with the wind chill making it seem like -50°F. As a Mainer, I am used to cold weather, but this, as the saying goes, took the cake. I don’t remember winter ever being this cold when I was a child.
On Friday night, as the temperature plummeted and the wind blew hard, the house cracked in loud protest. At first, Clif and I thought a bird had flown into a window in the dining room, but when we checked the ground below the windows, we didn’t see anything. However, when the cracks continued, we realized the noise was coming from the house itself, and it felt as though we were being visited by restless spirits. Two Facebook friends described how their dogs were spooked by the sharp cracks, which sounded like gunshots or large branches breaking. I could sympathize with the dogs. Clif and I were disconcerted, too.
Through it all, we stayed cozy and warm and mostly inside. (Clif braved the Arctic blast to check the mail.) We have three kinds of heat—electric, gas, and wood. We used them all. I expect we won’t be too happy to see next month’s heating bill, but staying warm is important.
And what is the forecast for next week? Highs in the 40s. What the heck!
Here is a pictorial record of the Polar Punch at our home on the edge of the woods. While I didn’t get a shot of the thermometer when the weather was at its coldest, this is what the temperature was on Friday night before we went to bed. Still a bit on the brisk side, and with the wind blowing, it felt even colder.
When I got up on Saturday morning, it was still pretty darned cold.
Ice coated the inside of the dining room windows. (We have insulated shades that we pull down at night.) The leaves are decals we use to help stop the birds from flying into the window. If you look closely, by the last leaf at the bottom, you can the circles my finger left behind as I tested the window to see if the ice was on the inside or outside.
The window in my bedroom was completely covered. Fortunately, this ice was on the outside.
In the kitchen, at least, we could peek outside, but note the layer of ice on the inside at the bottom. I’m not sure why there is such a difference in ice build-up on the various windows, but it’s probably due to the age of the glass and the variation of the insulating shades, which were not bought at the same time.
The fierce wind blew sticks and debris into the yard. I’ll be waiting until spring comes to clean them up.
Lucky for us, the polar punch didn’t stay long. By Sunday, the ice inside the window was gone, and the temp was 25°F and climbing.
For now, at least, the extreme cold is over.
This week, there will be no Reading Section on this Monday post. While Clif and I are pretty unflappable when it comes to cold weather—we are Mainers, after all—this weather gave us the jitters and pretty much dominated our thoughts and conversation.
Next week, I’ll discuss another book.