The Worst Winter Ever?
I‘m in homes from Washington, DC to Omaha, Nebraska, and I tell ya, it‘s been work, work, work all winter. It‘s not easy being injection foam in weather like this. I‘m on the job 24/7 beating away the sub-zero temperatures while my homeowners sit inside all comfy cozy—as if nothing unusual is happening out there.
Gimme a break! Is this the worst winter weather ever, or what?
So is the worst winter ever? Actually, the answer is "NO"--at least not yet. Anybody out there remember the three back-to-back-to-back winter wallops we got in the late 70‘s?
Let‘s start with a long stretch of unbrrrrrrrrrroken cold weather in early 1977. January 10th through February 8th remains the coldest 30-day period ever recorded in most of the MidWest. Blame it on….a Polar Vortex, of course. The average high was around 10 degrees and nighttime temperatures dropped to about -20 degrees or below! Cincinnati had a month straight of sub-zero temperatures! A massive "Snow Blitz" that lasted three days buried the Eastern Great Lakes region with up to 30-foot snow drifts and Minnesota, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York declared energy emergencies.
Fast forward one year. They called it the "Storm of the Century", "White Hurricane", "The Great Blizzard of ‘78" and other names I can‘t mention in this article. In late January 1978, the lowest barometric pressure in history was recorded in areas around the Great Lakes, the center of this massive winter storm. The National Weather Service referred to it as "a storm of unprecedented magnitude". They categorized it as "severe"--the highest blizzard rating possible. It blasted the Great Lakes states from Wisconsin to Ohio.
Wind chills dipped to 60 below. Gusts up to 100 miles an hour were reported in Michigan, where 40 inches of snow fell around Detroit and over 100,000 vehicles were stranded on the roads. The National Guard had to be called out to rescue motorists and even road crews that were equipped to handle big storms—but not storms as big as this one!
For two days the entire Ohio Turnpike was shut down and in Indiana, where snow drifts piled up as high as 20 feet, the State Police declared ALL roads closed.
It could never get that bad again, right? Wrong.
The very next January (1979) was the coldest month ever for most of the United States –and one of the snowiest as well. Temperatures were 12-16 degrees below normal in many places. Kansas had two straight weeks where the low dropped below zero. Temperatures in parts of Illinois averaged only 6 degrees for the month with lows almost -30 degrees.
Perhaps it‘s no coincidence that in 1980, President Carter created the National Energy Program requiring insulation in new construction. After all, you can‘t do anything about the weather outside…but you CAN do something about the weather inside!
So, if you were one of the unfortunate ones who lived through the ultra-extreme cold and snowy winters of the late 70‘s, this January has been a walk in the park. Of course, don‘t go for a walk in the park unless you bundle up real good, ‘cause it‘s still really, really brutal out there.
Well, gotta go back to work. I must remember to ask my homeowners for time-and-a-half…oh, wait a minute,,,I forgot. Once I‘m installed, I work for free all day, all night, all year--for nothin‘ except the satisfaction of knowing I‘m helping homeowners stay comfortable in their homes during a winter that will likely go down as one of the worst in history...but not THE WORST yet!