[Abridged version: Stay indoors. Drink Scotch.]
Last week’s sub-zero temperatures across much of the continental United States were Big News. We all heard the reports and saw the pictures of children blowing bubbles that froze solid, polar bears sheltering inside their zoo houses, planes grounded due to freezing fuel, lighthouses covered in buttercream-thick ice, schools closed because of cold.
As most Vermonters are aware, however, last week was a fairly unremarkable week in our own state, as winter temperatures go; the temperature hovered between the single digits and teens, with one bizarre rainy thaw into the 30s.
Vermont’s own sub-zero temperatures came the week before the rest of the country: the first week of the New Year. The National Weather Service recorded negative temperatures in Middlebury every day between January 2 and 5; on January 3, the high was -3. I witnessed a -17 reading on our outdoor thermometer; one afternoon as I prepared to meet the school bus, I found myself thinking, “Oh, good, it’s warmed up to -5; otherwise, it’d be really cold out there!”