Problems caused by cold weather

Published 4:00pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

Weather is often a conversation topic reserved for times when there is nothing to talk about. If the conversation moves to the weather, it probably isn’t going well.

But this week, nearly every conversation I had included the absurdly cold weather. Maybe that’s a sign that my conversations were especially dull or that we were experiencing an arctic cold front.

Temperatures on Monday night dropped as low as 10 degrees. It was equally cold on Tuesday. Wednesday it warmed up a bit, but it was still too chilly to leave the winter coat at home.

The arctic blast was a result of a polar vortex that turned the jet stream south. It froze water pipes, turned water fountains into ice statues and canceled school for all children in Dallas County.

Initially, I was puzzled at why schools would decide to cancel classes. On Monday, I realized exactly how severely cold it was when I returned home from work and began to understand why classes were canceled.

Huddled underneath my coat, I shivered as quickly as possible into my front door. Upon entering my house, I realized it was just as cold, perhaps colder, inside as it was outside. I must have turned the heater off when I left the house earlier in the day.

The first order of business was to immediately crank up the heater as high as possible. Then, I walked through my house, ensuring that none of my water pipes had frozen and a small dribble of water was still flowing from each faucet.

I was shocked at what I found in my bathroom.

The small stream of water was still flowing from the shower spigot, but underneath was an enormous pike of ice, growing by the second as water fell onto it.

It was funny, but only for a second. I immediately kicked the stalagmite of ice, knocking it to the bottom of my shower. Then, I checked the refrigerator to ensure it hadn’t become a literal ice box. Truthfully, it was probably warmer than the interior of my house.

On Tuesday, I continued my battle against the frigid weather. This time I was clever about my approach. I ran a dribble of water again, to ensure my pipes didn’t freeze and also turned on the heat in my house, but kept it at a lower-than-normal temperature, to ensure my electric bill wasn’t sky-high.

When I returned home from work Tuesday night, I briskly walked into my house to view the results of my clever thinking.

It worked.

Not only was the ice stalagmite absent from the shower floor, but the refrigerator was actually colder than the rest of my house — success. I had beaten the beast of the North.

I’m no meteorologist, but it looks like temperatures will return to their 60-degree winter average over the next few days, according to the National Weather Service.

The frigid temperatures our area experienced during the past few days haven’t been seen for decades and hopefully won’t return for many more.

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