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Being very cold
5 January 2018, 16:12,
Being very cold
This morning's weather report from our local TV.

Be aware the temps are given in Farenheit...

From the WDVM Weather Center...

Bitter cold temperatures will continue to pump into our four-state region on your Friday and into the weekend.

A Wind Chill Warning is in effect for the Alleghenies along with the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northern Virginia. Wind chill temperatures could reach as low as 30 below zero! [Farenbheit ~ -34 Celsius] Skin exposed to the wind could experience frostbite in just minutes!

A Wind Chill Advisory continues for the majority of the area. Wind chill temperatures could reach as low as 15 below zero. [-26 C] Exposed skin could achieve frostbite within 30 minutes.

Dress in layers. Minimize the area of exposed skin. Limit your outdoor exposure to the elements especially from the wind. Wind along with bitter cold air temperatures enhances the formation of frostbite.

Indoor pets and animals should remain indoors. There ventures outside should be limited and highly supervised.

Outdoor animals should have access to shelter away from the elements. Warm and dry blankets, the use of hay or cedar chips is recommended along with keeping outdoor shelters placed away from wind entering into the shelter. Make sure they have access to drinking water as water freezes quickly while exposed to air temperatures far below freezing point.

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
5 January 2018, 18:55,
RE: Being very cold
Ain't life grand?

You are getting the edge of the "bomb-cyclone" and that cold air hovered over our heads west of the mountains for nearly two weeks before it moved to meet the moisture on the east coast.

We have been under that "wind chill advisory" for over a week now. -15/-20f wind chill and not just for a few gusts, but a constant flow of wind for days.

It has not been above freezing mark since Christmas eve (12 days past) and we do not expect to see temps rise to above that mark and stay there for several more days. We do have a jump to 40f predicted but it will last for a couple of hours and bring heavy snow as the temps again drop below freezing.

In my case this is cold without snow. We have only a dust on the ground to remind us that it is not melting and it has laid there for nearly two weeks. It is simply a bitter deep cold with constant breeze of 8-10 mph that cuts through the best winter wear one can buy. I am sure the ground is frozen for a couple of feet below the surface and will take weeks to thaw. When it does this the ground actually breaks and heaves due to the uneven pressures, turns to mud and makes a real mess.

This is the first winter since I moved into this place where I can not keep the house warm. I have always been "comfortable", but this year I sit in front of the heater and my fingers tingle with cold and my feet refuse to warm up no matter what socks or how many layers I use.

I woke this morning to find the house at a uniform temp of 50f indoors. That would be 10c for you guys across the water. I had two heaters going in the 500sp/ft I have not closed off. Never before have I seen this house unable to sustain temps above 60f through the night, even in the coldest weather, using a single heater. This place is a thermos bottle, sealed with plastic barrier and filled with the best insulation money can buy.

Another winter like this and I am heading south for the season. They invented Florida for old folks like me.

Of course I have some friends down in Florida. They got a couple of inches of snow down on the beach.
5 January 2018, 21:52,
RE: Being very cold
I am wearing my wool blanket "mountain man" Capote as a robe in the house, with felt booties on my feet.

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
6 January 2018, 17:37,
RE: Being very cold
Yep, I share your experience.

Heavy flannel robe over all the clothes and socks that look like bunny boots.

Yesterday I really went "mad scientist" on this place and added a second sheet of 4 mil plastic to each window. I even sealed the "hinge side" of each door with Gorilla tape and added a sheet of plastic to the covers over the doors. I cover the doors with a layer of canvas and a layer of blanket but added the plastic beneath the canvas.

The living room was 15c (60 our temp) after a night at -25c outside air temp.

Now that I have things under control they are predicting a warm up for next week. We go all the way up to 10c for a couple of days.

I have put off any continued work outside until these temps arrive.

I was going to install some additional heat tape but I have found that there is none in the southeaster U.S. left to purchase!

I believe that I will get under the house and modify some of the plumbing to help evacuate the waste water. If I can get that drain flowing at about 15-20 mph when it hits the sewer main I might avoid some of this freezing!

Insulating the long drain line from kitchen to the main might help too. No one ever considers insulating drain lines but that is my present plague.
6 January 2018, 17:54,
RE: Being very cold
From a Tampa, FL newspaper:

Even as parts of Florida brace for record low temperatures, it likely won’t be cold enough for long enough to kill large numbers of one of the state’s most troublesome invasive species, the Burmese python.

The snakes, most common in the Everglades, don’t fare well in the cold, but they have adapted to slither beneath heavy vegetation or go underground to stay warm enough to survive, said Ian Bartoszek, a wildlife biologist at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

"If they’re caught sort of exposed in a freeze event — this is a subtropical species so that can be lethal for sure," he said. A cold couple of days would hurt pythons "that aren’t adapted well" and don’t find warm shelter.

"But we need a real deep freeze to hit them back hard," Bartoszek said...

In their native range in southeast Asia, Bartoszek said, Burmese pythons use porcupine burrows to get out of the cold...

In the Everglades, where the soil isn’t always fit for burrowing, pythons also move into warm water or cracks and holes in the rocks along berms and levees, said Frank Mazzotti, a wildlife ecology professor at the University of Florida. Around this time of year, he said, they’re going underground to mate anyway.

The cold snap has hit North Florida hardest, Mazzotti said, sparing to some extent the points further south where most pythons live. Scientists still are not exactly sure what temperature is deadly for pythons, he said, or for how long they must be exposed before freezing. But without sustained colder temperatures in the lower part of the state, he said, this frigid spell "is going to have a minimal impact."

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
7 January 2018, 13:36, (This post was last modified: 7 January 2018, 13:39 by Lightspeed.)
RE: Being very cold
Hope things are starting to look better for you MB and CH

As posted last week, its the wind that causes us most problems in keeping heat in our particular house in the winter.

If conditions are still, we've managed well at -20C just using the wood burning stove.

Your predicament(s) motivated me to get into our loft crawl spaces last Friday to beef up the lagging on the CH pipes that are routed there. After a bit of experimentation we found a good and easy to apply solution: Double thickness mineral wool battens (60 cm x 125cm) wrapped longwise along the pipe runs, held in place with a stapled-closed sheath of Tyvek vapour barrier. The outside diameter of the lagging is now over 45 cm (18") and the improvement in heat delivered to the radiators in the living space below has been immediately apparent. Were still basking in warm Atlantic air (8 -10C) so the proof of this pudding is still to come.

Out of interest, my understanding was that you guys habitually deal with long periods of cold below 15C at your locations. Is it the further drop in temperature or the combination that cold with strong winds that is causing you so much pain at the moment?
72 de



STATUS: Bugged-In at the Bug-Out
7 January 2018, 17:06,
RE: Being very cold
The wind is the real killer and thief of body heat.

At 0 degs. F on a still day I will wear a silk base layer, wool shirt and fleece-lined canvas trousers, with bulky sweater, nylon windbreaker and my Navy watch cap and go for my normal morning walk, perhaps stepping up the pace a little to remain comfortable.

But when the wind chill hits -10 to -20 F I stay indoors and peddle on the exercise bike, watching the blowing snow out the window...

But wet-cold, hovering just above freezing, with wind is by far the worst.

I'd prefer a cold snap with powder snow squeaking under my feet anytime over a blowing UK winter drizzle...

73 de KE4SKY
"Almost Heaven" West Virginia
7 January 2018, 18:42,
RE: Being very cold
(7 January 2018, 13:36)Lightspeed Wrote: Out of interest, my understanding was that you guys habitually deal with long periods of cold below 15C at your locations. Is it the further drop in temperature or the combination that cold with strong winds that is causing you so much pain at the moment?

CH and I live on about the same latitude line but I am a couple hundred miles east of him and he is a couple of thousand feet in elevation higher than myself.

That means we will often get almost the same temps but he will have some snow I do not get due to the precipitation patterns in the higher elevation.

Just for the record, in my area the average high temperature in January is 5-7c. That is high temp, nightly lows will average -5 or so with a dip to -10 not unusual.

Since Christmas Eve we have not been above 0, day or night. In all of last week we never got above -10c. Our night time lows have been hovering around -20c.

Wind chills at night have dropped below -35.

14 days without getting above zero at any time. And through all that we have had an 8-10mph wind alternating between the north and west coming right out of the coldest regions of the continent.

Now I have to say that we do this about once each year. It is not unusual, it is usually just unexpected due partly to our weather service.

They optimistically predict one or two nights of cold followed by a quick warm up like normal, then we get hit with a "bomb", which they knew was on the way and did not inform us about! They knew but it would ruin their happy little world of being the popular part of the nightly news to tell us we are about to get brutally smashed.

Temps go down and stay there and if it is early in the season some are caught unprepared. One of the real problems is that when something freezes during one of these events it is not going to thaw out and work again for weeks!

In my area this one did not cause a lot of power outages due to lack of ice and snow. We were just beset with deep, saturating, windblown inescapable cold.

This week my temps are expected to rise to "normal". Back to about 15c. Of course they are promoting this as a warm-up, when it is actually a return to normal January temperatures. The media once again changes the vocabulary to meet their needs.

One thing this event did do, it prompted me to do some general maintenance work I had not planned. I had been well set for "normal", or even "extreme normal" with snow and such for a couple of days. I found myself a bit short on the preps for an antarctic expedition that would last a fortnight.

These temps will draw attention to any weakness in ones system.

Little things caused sudden problems. I had not straightened the drain line as I should have, I had replaced a threshold and forgotten to replace the sweep to seal out the air, a new AC unit caused problems when I tried to winter proof it and allowed cold air in.

Nothing like walking past a window you know you sealed and feeling a blast of cold air, or standing in front of a door and feeling air come all around the sides and under the bottom when you know you installed the kit to seal it up. The constant wind chill forced air into cracks that have not given me problems in the past.

All these little things caused more problem than one would realize. Between the cracks I had created during summer jobs and such I had air flow coming in equal to throwing open a window at -25c.

Right now I an sitting here and outside temp is -5c. I have only one space heater on at the moment and it is on low and keeping the entire house at 25c.

The remainder of the winter should be a snap.
7 January 2018, 21:55,
RE: Being very cold
Only twice in the last 50 odd years I can remember that during a prolonged very cold spell our cold water pipe freezing underground, mains water pipes are only 12 - 15 inches down and it’s extremely rare for the ground to freeze that deep. We don’t have dry very very cold weather, normally just cold wet and miserable and the damp seems get into your bones, that’s why us Brits complain about the weather.
8 January 2018, 10:12,
RE: Being very cold
In my area the building codes require all utilities be buried 4 feet below surface. 48 inches seems excessive but after this experience it actually makes sense. Lord only knows how far down the ground is frozen after 2 weeks at -20c.

It is the pipes under houses or leaving or entering the ground that are getting frozen here.

I believe that crawl spaces are actually colder these days with the added insulation required underfloor by the codes. In the old days pipes got some heat from the house and if the crawl space was sealed up well they seldom froze.

It appears that I am going to need to insulate the individual pipes as well as apply heat tape after this season.

In fact, that deed will probably be done within the next couple of days.

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