Weather Specialist Rick McCoy said earlier in the week that extreme arctic cold can cause light walls and various atmospheric colors, especially after sunrise during severe outbreaks. Those characteristics can be seen in Wednesday’s sunrise. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Weather Specialist Rick McCoy said earlier in the week that extreme arctic cold can cause light walls and various atmospheric colors, especially after sunrise during severe outbreaks. Those characteristics can be seen in Wednesday’s sunrise. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – Local EMA director and weather specialist Rick McCoy reported at 1 p.m. on Thursday that 44 consecutive hours of zero weather had been broken when the temperature rose at the time to one degree. McCoy said that the temperature fell below zero at 5 p.m. on Jan. 29 and continued until Thursday afternoon.

“The coldest reading during that time was -17 degrees with the lowest wind chill recorded at -44 degrees,” said McCoy.

McCoy said the readings were the lowest in five years when two readings of -15 occurred in January of 2014.

Fortunately, said Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach, there were no tragedies or emergency rescues needed during the time. Riggenbach said that at the time when the pavements quick-froze on Thursday afternoon, there were some slide-offs but no serious accidents.

“Thank goodness most county residents had been given sufficient warning of the impending severe cold moving in and were prepared,” said Riggenbach.

Riggenbach said that many area businesses completely shut down on Wednesday, the coldest day of the air mass when temperatures never rose above -12 degrees.

“Most people stayed in Wednesday and part of Thursday,” said Riggenbach. “That cut back in area traffic and undoubtedly cut back from the accidents that could have been associated with the storm.”

Ironically, the next major weather incident on the horizon, said McCoy is a complete switch to well above normal temperatures over the weekend. With highs predicted in the mid-50’s on Saturday, there could be a fluctuation of over 70 degrees between the coldest and warmest temperatures of this week.

“Weather specialists are now saying that the jet streak will switch back to the western, balmy flow of earlier in January,” said McCoy. “They are predicting highs in the 50’s over much of the weekend.

That switch in temperature could also force a change in precipitation mode, said McCoy.

“Earlier, weather specialist were looking at another potential snowstorm by midweek,” said McCoy. “Now they are talking about a completely rainy week, forcing some flooding along the rivers and in the low spots.”

“That doesn’t mean that winter is over and another cold outbreak won’t happen,” said McCoy. “However, it does look like we are in for a fairly substantial break in the weather this next week.

“Residents need to keep items around in case of another outbreak of winter weather,” said McCoy. “If the upcoming forecast proves true, the biggest danger over the next week could be floodwaters, some of it in unsuspected places.”