New year brings record low temperature to midstate

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Jan 2, 2018 4:35 PM
cold thermometer.jpg

(Harrisburg) -- The new year has brought with it a record low temperature.

In Harrisburg, the low on the morning of January 1st was two below zero.

Aaron Tyburski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, says that broke the old record of two above zero, which was set back in 1968.

The temperature dropped to minus four in Lancaster and negative nine in York on New Year's Day. 

Tyburski says it's not known if those were also record-breakers, because the data doesn't stretch back as far for those cities.

While an off-shore storm this week will likely only bring flurries of snow to the region, Tyburski says the frigid temperatures are expected to stick around. 

"As this storm that's offshore moves off to the north and east, it will pull some cold air back down from Canada, and we'll see temperatures very similar if not a little bit colder on Friday and Saturday than we did this past weekend," Tyburski said. 

Wind chill values over the weekend are expected to range from minus 10 to minus 15. 

Temperatures are forecast to rise above freezing briefly on Monday, then dip back down.

As the cold weathe continues, utility company UGI is offering these tips to stay safe:

-- UGI adds an odorant, which smells like rotten eggs, to natural gas to help you detect a gas leak. The odorant is added in small concentrations and is harmless. If you smell an odor of rotten eggs, it's important to leave the building immediately, taking everyone with you. Do not use the phone, light a match, or switch anything on or off. Leave the door open, and once clear of the area call your utility company from your cell phone or neighbor's home. 

--Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can result from a malfunctioning heating unit or other fuel-burning appliance, as well as from a blocked chimney or exhaust line. CO poisoning occurs more frequently during cold weather, when heating units are operating and home windows and doors are closed tightly. CO is a colorless, odorless, gas. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. Signs that an appliance may be producing CO include condensation on walls and windows, house pets becoming sluggish. and residents in the home suffering flu-like symptoms or feeling unusually tired. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning, seek fresh air immediately as well as prompt medical attention. Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and the batteries powering them are fresh.

--Check your outdoor gas meter, gas piping and appliance vents regularly to ensure they are clear of snow and ice. Use a snow brush or broom to gently clear any snow or ice off of the meter and associated pipes. Avoid using a shovel, plow or snow blower near gas equipment. 

--In extreme cold weather, your heating unit may have difficulty maintaining the temperature set on your thermostat based on the system capacity and other factors. However, if your equipment is not functioning properly, consider contacting your heating contractor.

--Remember that an electric power outage will affect blowers and newer natural-gas fired heaters with electronic ignitions. If your gas heater does not relight when the power returns, turn the unit off for a moment, then back on. If it still does not light, call a qualified HVAC professional for service.

--Use extra caution when using space heaters inside your home. Place a space heater on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable (such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs) at least three feet away from the unit.

--Always turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leavingthe room or going to bed. 

--Never use a generator, grill, portable/camping stove or other fossil fuel burning device inside a home, garage or other enclosed area. Never heat a home with an oven if your electricity goes out.

--If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to prevent sparks and rolling logs from contacting any room furnishings.

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