Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Into the Polar Vortex - and Out the Other Side

Wowee, what a ride it's been -- barely edging above zero the last two days after a low in Northfield of -23 F. Monday morning. It was warm last Friday, and then we went down, down, down, dropping 54 degrees in 48 hours according to this line graph, courtesy of the Carleton College weather database. That horizontal blue line is the zero point, and the top of the graph is 32 degrees -- the freezing point. The National Weather Service announced on Sunday that "historic and life-threatening cold air" had arrived, and I heard a TV host quoted as pointing out that at the coldest point it could be 50 degrees warmer and water would still freeze!

We topped off all our feeders on Saturday to help the birds get easy fuel to keep their inner furnaces burning through these frigid days and nights. It's hard to fathom how such tiny creatures survive such conditions, but it appears that many or most of our usual visitors are still with us.

To follow up my New Year's photo of a house finch in snow, here is another, enjoying the sun before it got so very cold. Welcome back, warmth!

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