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Can we have the next heat wave, please?

Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 12:01 am

Isn’t it fun to be living through a roller-coaster winter? Instead of merely treating us to a cold snap, Mother Nature first sends the thermometer shooting up to 50 so we can savor the contrast. How much brisker it seems when the drop in temperature is so sudden and dramatic. Brrrr!

And this time around, Fort Wayne didn’t get left out. We missed out on the worst of the snow that brutalized parts of the nation. But the deep freeze that descended this week hit here, too. Many in northeast Indiana woke to a temperature of 1 degree Monday morning, with the wind chill below zero. For the rest of the week, it was a long, slow climb out of single digits, then out of the teens. In this kind of weather, 20 can seem like a heat wave.

The cold’s effects ranged from inconvenience – water pipes needed to be watched carefully, pets couldn’t be too long outside – to real hardship. Ice made it incredibly harder to fight fires in Chicago. There were several deaths in the Midwest and thousands of cases of hypothermia, frostbite and other winter maladies. As the cold wave moved from the Midwest to the East, it even seemed to intensify. In northern Maine the temperature dipped to 36 below Wednesday morning, with a wind chill of minus-45.

Bone-chilling-temperatures were still expected throughout the East this weekend, but on Friday the temperature in Fort Wayne and elsewhere in the Midwest perked up to “merely annoyingly cold,” and the improvement was just in time for us to enjoy – snow!

And next week? Another warmup – it’s supposed to hit 54 on Tuesday and drop to only 47 the next day. You can guess what comes next, right?