Sunday, November 28, 2010

Record Low Temperatures for November

We thought it was a little cold at our little house on November 25th, Thanksgiving Day; the temperature according to our thermometer went down to –14° F in the early morning, before slowly rising to about 20° F in the late afternoon. All across central and eastern Nevada, record lows for November were recorded on the 25th: the Ely Airport low was –20° F, breaking a –19 record set the previous day (24Nov2010); the Winnemucca Airport recorded –10, breaking a –9 record set in 1880; the Wendover Airport recorded 5, breaking a record of 6 set in 1993 and 1955. (All temps in Fahrenheit; all data from the Weather Underground.)
Record lows were also set for November 25th: the Ely Airport low was –20° F, breaking a record of –4 set in 1992; the Elko Airport low was –14, breaking a record of –9 set in 1898; the Eureka Airport low was –12, breaking a record of –10 set in 1992; the Winnemucca Airport low was –10, breaking a –6 record set in 1993; the Wendover Airport low was 5, breaking a record of 8 set in 1938; the Tonopah Airport low was 8, breaking a record of 13 set in 1993. (Again, all temps in Fahrenheit, and all data from the Weather Underground.)

We had a little pipe freezing problem at our little house, which we noticed early in the morning. Initially, four pipes (cold and hot to the bathtub and kitchen sink) were frozen, and turning the heat up, running the hot water at the bathroom sink, and turning our little space heater toward the bathtub thawed those two pipes (and the tub drain, which had also been frozen). We then concentrated on the kitchen sink, placing the space heater under the sink, which finally got the cold water running, but not the hot.

The pipes in the crawl space under the house are insulated with thin foamy pipe wraps, but the outside cinderblocks around the "pipe room" are mostly uninsulated, meaning that although heat goes down through the floors in the kitchen and bathroom into the crawl space below, it escapes easily and has little chance of keeping the pipes warm. Poor design.
We finally moved our little space heater into the crawl space, ran a long extension cord to it, turned it on to max and ran it for some time. I also moved another space heater to the open cabinet doors at the kitchen sink and cranked it up, until MOH noticed that the extension cord was getting hot (we have sub-standard wiring). So, I turned that space heater to I from III, while the little heater below kept cranking heat into the void of cold air pooled under the house. It took about an hour and a half to thaw that final pipe, not counting the two hours of interior heating we had concentrated on prior to running the cord below the house.
Yes, it was cold.

Later, we took a hike up the hill, on a path MOH had made by mashing down with snowshoes what had been one-foot deep snow. By then, 20° F in the sun felt warm, but hands and chin were tending toward icy, so it was a short hike.
I noticed some interesting wrinkles in the snow, which appear to be mini-slump features formed around buried clumps of grass and bushes.
The snow sparkled in a rainbow of colors, with the deep periwinkle blue really standing out from some angles, possibly suggesting a particular orientation to the snow crystals. These colors were a little hard to photograph; a few other colors besides blue show up when enlarged.

It's been warmer these past two days, partly sunny with a little snow, and highs above freezing. Today is bland and gray so far, the temp is above 24° F already, and it's snowing and blowing once again.


Dan McShane said...

After some time in the cold, 38 degrees feels balmy. I dare not complain about cold after reading this post. You and MOH stay warm.

Silver Fox said...

He would be "YOH" to you! ;)