By Steve Novotney
This time the marketing folks at the National Weather Service are referring to an approaching weather system as “THE POLAR PLUNGE.”
It is coming and is expected to arrive to the Upper Ohio Valley region later this evening. If the extended forecast is to be believed, outside temperatures will struggle to surpass the freezing mark, and nighttime readings will be well below 32 degrees for more than a week.
When we encounter such conditions in the valley, we layer up, we find the winter boots we were so happy to toss aside several months ago, and we place our dogs in ugly sweaters. If snow is in the forecast, God help our neighbors who work at our local grocery stores!
In fact, the National Weather Service has already released its list of “winter storm names,” a practice that started three years ago. The list posted on weather.com’s website is as follows: Astro, Bozeman, Cato, Damon, Eris, Frona, Gorgon, Hektor, Iola, Juno, Kari, Linus, Marcus, Neptune, Octavia, Pandora, Quantum, Remus, Sparta, Thor, Ultima, Xander, Yuli, and Zelus.
But I must wonder how many of us remember to check on our parents and grandparents to make sure they are prepared for the extreme cold.
Is their furnace in working order? Does it need a new filter?
Are their windows properly sealed?
Are they still capable of shoveling their walk? Do they have sidewalk salt to melt the ice?
How are the tires on their vehicle? Is there enough windshield-wiper fluid under the hood? Gas in the tank?
And do they have enough food in their refrigerator?
The age demographics in Wheeling reveal that many mothers and fathers have remained in the Friendly City while several of their children have moved away for employment. If you are one of those children, pick up the phone and call the folks.
If you discover they need something, listed above or something else, reach out to friends in the area and ask for assistance. If that’s not possible, leave a comment below and I will do everything I can for you and your family.
The predicted temperatures are nothing new for the residents of this region, especially after enduring the bitterness offered by last winter’s “POLAR VORTEX.” But you know and I know that below-freezing conditions become more difficult with each passing calendar year.
Imagine how our parents and grandparents must feel.