Cold weather: winter is chilliest 'in many people's memory’
Cold weather across much of the East has orange growers pulling all-nighters in Florida, city workers in Atlanta scrambling to fix burst pipes, and the homeless struggling in Memphis.
Remember those nasty 1970s winters?
Well, Americans are reliving those cold old days right now as cold weather threatens orange and strawberry growers in Florida, has social service crews working overtime in Tennessee, and fracturing old water mains in Atlanta.
Across the South, Midwest, and Eastern seaboard, a stubborn “arctic outbreak," tacked onto an already cold return to work for many Americans, augurs what meteorologist at AccuWeather.com are calling “the coldest winter in many people’s memory.”
“It’ll be like the great winters of the ‘60s and ‘70s,” says AccuWeather.com chief meteorologist and long range forecaster Joe Bastardi.
It’s not just the lows, which are around what the chilly winter of 2002 and 2003 brought. It’s the duration and some historic maximums, including a 17 degree F high in Bluefield, W.V., that are worrying farmers, closing schools, and forcing homeless shelter managers to work overtime and loosen rules to find bed space for those seeking shelter.
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Impact on oil and gas prices
The impact is likely to be widespread. As part of a global cold spell, crude oil prices are inching up quickly as China, especially, is seeing its coldest and snowiest weather in decades. Natural gas futures also rose steadily as predictions of a chilly winter lifted demand expectations into warmer parts of the country.
Orange futures rallied on Monday in advance of a feared frost. Growers escaped widespread damage over the weekend, but a prolonged sub-freezing front is expected to hover over the state for several days starting Thursday.
It’s all part of a strange weather pattern, as this year’s winter struck first in the South, and then a pre-Christmas blizzard upset mall shopping, all giving way to a spell of cold and snow that included a record 33-inch weekend snow fall in Burlington, Vt.
While the temperatures in many parts of the country haven’t been this low since 1982 and 1985, the long-lasting cold and promise of repeated snow events means this winter is shaping up to be like the one that hit the US in the winter of 1977-1978, says Mr. Bastardi at Accuweather.com.
Nearly all of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains saw a cold October, a warmer November and returning cold in December. What followed in 1978 is what weather watchers expect to happen this year: Far below normal temperatures lasting until March.