When I got up Tuesday, the temperature in our back room, where we’ve been sleeping since my surgery, was 39ºF, or just under 4ºC. Upstairs in the bedroom we’re not using, I hit the “on” button of an electric heater to check the temperature there: 26ºF (-3ºC). I’m considering opening the refrigerator door downstairs to help heat that room, and using the bedroom as a freezer.
The heater, by the way, did not seem to know quite how to deal with the situation. Instead of immediately churning out warm air, it sat there silently for a moment, then emitted a low, gradually rising hum and coughed a couple of times before its motor began a tentative and intermittent growl. Unsure whether the growl would settle to a steady purr or die off with a gasp, I hit the off button.
Now it may seem silly to take these temperatures personally, but just look at that map above. The purple/pink arctic air covers a good swath of central Canada, brushes North Dakota, and shoves itself all the way through Montana, as if aiming its blunt, frozen fingertip right at my home town of Bozeman, which lies just north of the point where the westward facing state profile gives way to a straight line. If we could get sufficient detail, I’m sure you’d see that the cold air is actually aimed at my house.
Winter is not fooling around this year. We got two feet of snow in mid November, and now we’re in the midst of a cold snap more typical of January than December. Outside, Tuesday’s average temperature was -18.6ºF, which translates to -28°C. That’s the average, which included the night’s low of -26.6 with the day’s high of –6.7.
We are quickly approaching that point (-40º) at which the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales converge. All distinctions, even those between these two scales, fade away; all that remains is the one universal fact upon which all can agree: it’s damn cold.
Actually, temperatures are gradually moderating; it's already above zero today, and we'll be in the high twenties by the weekend. Think I'll break out my T-shirts.
As for how we manage in a house where the thermostat is never set above 60º, stay tuned and all shall be revealed.