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Another ‘Once in a Generation’ Cold Snap?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 10:16 AM

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Another biting cold has frozen Northeast Ohio, but things might soon be changing.  Maybe. (WCPN/Tony Ganzer)

Northeast Ohio is in the midst of another brutally cold weather system just weeks after getting the brunt of the so-called "polar vortex." Temperatures dipped below minus 20 on Tuesday, once we factor in the wind chill. Ideastream's Tony Ganzer tries to put the cold in context with help from Dave Call, who teaches meteorology at Ball State University

Northeast Ohio is in the midst of another brutally cold weather system just weeks after getting the brunt of the so-called “polar vortex.”

Temperatures dipped below minus 20 on Tuesday, once we factor in the wind chill. 

The biting cold surprised Dave Call, who knows quite a bit about these types of weather patterns: he teaches meteorology at Ball State University.

CALL: “ Earlier this this winter, the cold snap we had, I referred to as a once in a generation cold snap. It’s funny to get two of those within one month. 

GANZER: Generations aren’t as long as they used to be, eh?

CALL:  “No, I guess not.  The last time we had such prolonged cold was in the late 1990s, but those were just a few unusual winters too.  You have to go back to the early 80s and late 1970s to get into several winters of really brutal cold and snow.”

Call says there’s no way to know whether this year is an anomaly or the start of a new trend of very cold winters.  As for what we can expect for the rest of this winter…

CALL: “As we get into February, temperatures average warmer than they do in January.  So even if it is unusually cold, it won’t be quite as bitter cold as it is right now.”

But it’s hard to know for sure, because it’s like…predicting the weather.

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