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EAGER TO BREAK THE ICE

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Top, the frozen Dan River. Above, a gar met a premature end in the frozen lakebed of Buggs Island Lake in Buffalo Junction, a scene that could have come from the prehistoric ice age.
SoVaNow.com / January 08, 2018
Polar bear weather in Halifax County is coming to an end — for now.

After a bone-chilling snap that has seen temperatures fall to as low as zero degrees at night, the county is due for a respite with warmer weather in the forecast for this week. Daytime highs will be in the 40s today, with the forecast calling for highs of mid-60 by Friday.

Coming off the deep freeze, most schools in the region — including Halifax County — are on a two-hour delay this morning.

The brutal cold has caused problems from frozen pipes to deadened car batteries, but for the most part, residents avoided the worst effects of the weather by staying indoors.

However, some 2,000 Dominion customers in an area from the Town of Halifax to Vernon Hill and eastern Pittsylvania County experienced power outages Sunday as temperatures remained below freezing. By 1:30 p.m., the utility was working to restore power to 1,809 affected customers in Halifax and 333 in Pittsylvania. All but 501 customers in Halifax County had their power restored by evening.

Dominion was projecting that repairs would be complete and service restored by Monday morning.

Chad Loftis, the county’s emergency services coordinator, said the impact of the cold wave wasn’t “too bad” in the area, although the county’s warming center drew some extra visits during the prolonged cold.

There were no immediate reports of house fires related to the cold snap, although firefighters were called out to a kitchen fire in Virgilina on Sunday morning that was unrelated to the weather.

The unusually cold temperatures that settled over the East Coast were related to a weak polar vortex, which helps to keep colder air near the Arctic. With polar ice vanishing, the counter-clockwise circulation of the polar vortex weakens, allowing more cold air to escape further south.

This is resulting in colder temperatures in the lower latitudes — the U.S. Canada, Europe, and Eurasia. The authors of a 2017 study in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society report that 80 percent of the coldest winters across these regions over the past 40 years corresponded with the warmest years in the Arctic.

The cold wave — and a related “bomb cyclone” over the Atlantic Ocean, produced record cold in the Northeast this weekend, with a wind chill effect of a projected 100 degrees below zero forecast for New Hampshire’s Mount Washington.



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