January 21, 2019

December temperatures below average, but not record-breaking


OSCODA COUNTY –– The average daily temperatures for the month of December were below historical averages by roughly 3 degrees and aren’t expected to go up too much in the near future, according to Meteorologist Andy Sullivan of the National Weather Service.

The Alpena County Regional Airport was the lone recordbreaker last month, with a minus 19 degree reading Dec. 28, which was 10 degrees below its former record from 1967, according to Sullivan.

“We have weather observations that come out about four miles east of Standish and also East Tawas — those are the two closest places to (Oscoda County),” he said. “It’s been a lot of arctic air coming down from Canada. After the first week of December, that’s been a persistent pattern and that’s going to continue over the next week to two weeks.”

Sullivan said the temperatures were just a little below their usual numbers, but they could not be considered extreme cold as of yet. Frostbite is still considered a serious danger to residents and pets, as it can take as little as 15 minutes for it to set in.

The cooler-than-average temperatures did not just affect the Northern Lower Peninsula, but stretched across the country, according to Sullivan.

“A lot of the country has been below normal besides the West Coast,” he said. “The coldest air has been from the Plains to the Great Lakes and that’s also starting to affect the Northeast now just recently. So it’s been a pretty large area affected.”

Earlier this week, the National Weather Service forecasted wind chills to cause temperatures to fall below zero at times through the remainder of the week. Exposure to these temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

To stay safe during cold weather, the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division encourages residents to stay indoors if possible. If you must go outside, make sure to wear protective gear, such as hats, mittens, gloves, scarf and a warm coat.

It is also important to avoid overexertion when shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car or walking in deep snow. Taking breaks frequently to warm up is essential.

Looking out for signs of frostbite, such as loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or the face, is important to preventing freezing of tissues in the skin. It is also important to watch for signs of hypothermia, which include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion.

Some additional tips offered are to remove clothing if it gets damp or wet, weatherproof doors and windows to trap heat inside the home, check heating units for functionality and batteries to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and minimize travel. If travel is necessary, it is a good idea to keep your gas tank full as well as to keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle with warm clothing and blankets in case you become stranded. If stranded, it is essential to remain inside the vehicle.

Temperatures are expected to even out in early January. Sullivan said there will be some periods of snow over the next week, and some areas may get lake-effect snow with significant snowfall, but overall there should not be any large storms or above-average accumulation.


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