A majority of the United States is enveloped in bitterly cold temperatures that is expected to last the remainder of the week and could shatter record low temperatures, reports Weather.com.
"Over 100 daily record lows and record cool highs may be threatened Tuesday and Wednesday, combined, from the Plains and Midwest to the Deep South, Florida, and East," predicts meteorologist Jon Erdman.
In fact, the past 7 days has seen 1,360 cold weather records broken in states and regions around the country.
There is no doubt it is cold, but just how cold depends on which part of the country in which you live and which statistics you employ to measure how "cold" it is, argues meteorologist David Epstein of Boston.com.
Epstein acknowledges the last week has seen "a lot of cold records being set," which means certain towns and cities had cold high temperatures which were records. But, that does not necessarily mean those are record temperatures.
"Simply put, those cities and towns saw their coldest daily highs ever recorded. These records are for a particular date, not all-time," he writes.
For example, Epstein looks at the Boston area and the number of days when the temperature was under 40 in November since 1994. He finds that the average is 2 degrees and the maximum is 6 degrees. However, if you "expand the period of record to include all the data the average jumps to 9 [degrees] and the maximum goes up to 13 [degrees]! I can’t fit all those numbers since 1875 on one chart," says Epstein.
He notes that even while the New England region is not expected to set any daily records, residents' short memories will not prevent them from proclaiming like "it’s too early for this" or "I’m not ready for this yet."
And, of course, the media coverage contributes to our sense of dread about cold weather or any particular severe weather event.
"Even in our daily weather forecasts, the prospect of what if scenarios is too often used to garner a reaction, usually to gain eyeballs or followers. There will be cold and snow this winter and no matter how much or how little there is, spring will arrive sometime in March. Traffic will be impacted, schools closed and too much milk purchased," Epstein noted in a recent blog post.
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