National Weather Service’s forecast for Jan. 11 was, as of Friday, for a daytime high near 8F. Based on years of reporting, reading, television viewing and radio listening, I can tell you what near 8 means: Less than 8.
So 7, at best. If I said nearly 100 people attended a municipal meeting, there were fewer than 100. In attendees, that’s fine, even outstanding. In daytime temperatures, unless they meant Celsius, which they did not, this was, and is, an unacceptable degree of cold.
Single digits are rough but understandable overnight in January. But there is no need of less than 8 during the day; the sun is there, somewhere.
I know it has been this cold, even colder many a winter day in Maine. But it is always a bit of a shock because spring and especially summer erase some of those bitter experiences. We can block them out, as we show our arms again and welcome the cold blast of stepping into a grocery store. The ice leaves the rivers and our veins. Night more appropriately falls near 9 p.m.; that’s near, as in not quite, like not quite 8F.
So let us outlast another stretch of severe, unacceptable cold, with a tip from mainehealth.org: Dress for the conditions; wear lots of layers.
Week’s positive parting thought: Thank you to everyone who goes into the cold, sometimes the very cold, to keep the peace, the roads clear, and ambulances and school buses running. Area fire departments’ and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office’s response to emergencies in a Jan. 5 ice event is a good example of people working in harsh conditions to help one another.