Sunday Story: Warm Ice

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Weather Headlines

–Winter has returned

Main threats

Just make sure the people and outdoor pets in your life are ready for this cold snap. We’ll see cold temps that we haven’t seen in some time, so make sure you’re prepared.

Summary

We’ll see clearing skies today and much colder conditions that what we’ve become accustomed too. That breeze will have a bite to it, as well! Normally, temps like this toward the end of January would be something we’d be used to. That’s not the case this winter.

The rest of the forecast looks dry but cold. The next rain system should arrive by Thursday night/Friday.

Almanac

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Baldwin’s 7-Day forecast

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Sunday Story

Warm Ice

Water is arguably the most unique substance on our planet. Few substances can exist in all states at temperatures that are survivable for humans. 

Water becomes most unique when changing states. As it does so, it absorbs or releases heat in order to achieve a change in state. 

When cold air threatens crops, farmers will often take advantage of water’s unique ability to keep their crops protected from frost. You have probably seen pictures of farmers spraying their crops with water on nights when freezing temperatures are expected.

As that water collects on the buds, it will begin to freeze when temperatures drop to freezing. When water freezes, it releases heat. It’s not a lot of heat, but it can be just enough to protect tender buds. 

This method only works when temperatures are going to be in the 28-32 degree range. Any colder than that and the warmth released from freezing won’t be enough to protect the bud. 

Just as water releases heat when it freezes, ice absorbs heat when it melts. You can actually observe this in your home if you fill the kitchen sink with ice. After the ice starts melting, you can feel the cooler air near the sink. That’s because the ice is pulling the heat out of the air in order to melt. 

You can also put a bowl of ice in the oven to absorb the heat when you no longer need the oven on. The heat is then trapped in the water and not in the air in your kitchen. 

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that, “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” It not only quenches our thirst, but it drives our weather and even helps us protect our plants from thirst and freeze. 

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