Embrace the 'warmth': Cold temps this month nothing compared to 20 years ago
This week's high temperatures in the teens, along with single-digit readings reported earlier this month, may have some people wishing for an early spring. The high temperature today, in fact, will be 15 to 20 degrees below normal.
This month's weather, however, is quite pleasant compared to conditions 20 years ago.
Although January can often be a cruel month, a record cold wave and snowfall that occurred in January 1994 is something few want to see repeated.
On Jan. 19, 1994, low temperatures ranged from -24 degrees in Trevorton to -6 degrees in Mount Carmel. On Jan. 21 - 20 years ago today - it got even worse, when residents reported -29 degrees in Overlook and -12 degrees in Kulpmont.
Many locations, including Harrisburg, which bottomed out at -22, broke low-temperature records for January.
The frigid weather was not limited to Pennsylvania. Indianapolis reported a low of -27 degrees and Columbus, Ohio, dropped to -22.
The cold snap began two days after a storm dumped 17 inches of snow on the area, which brought the total amount that had fallen in 21 days to 48 inches. Travel was nearly impossible, despite the best efforts of local street departments.
To make matters worse, utility companies began rolling blackouts to conserve energy. Then Pa. Gov. Robert Casey declared a disaster emergency for all 67 counties because of the conditions. Schools closed, and so did many businesses, until the weather broke after nearly a week.
The arctic air that impacted the area had been the coldest since Jan. 8, 1981. On that date, temperatures in Shamokin plummeted into the -20s, which had at that time made it the coldest day since Feb. 2, 1948.
So embrace the "warmth" this week. The forecast calls for high temperatures between 15 to 20 degrees, lows in the single digits, and no major storms are expected.