Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cold snap takes area by storm

By CRYSTAL HERBER, Herald Staff Writer | 12/26/2012

Pete Cearfoss only golfs on days that end in “y” he said jokingly, but even this week’s weather is too cold for him. 

If it’s warm enough, a passerby might see Cearfoss on the course, but “warm enough” is about 30 degrees warmer than it has been for the past week. Cearfoss, who has owned businesses in Ottawa’s downtown for more than 30 years, said he takes the Kansas weather in stride, so he wasn’t too surprised by the recent cold snap. 

Pete Cearfoss only golfs on days that end in “y” he said jokingly, but even this week’s weather is too cold for him. 

If it’s warm enough, a passerby might see Cearfoss on the course, but “warm enough” is about 30 degrees warmer than it has been for the past week. Cearfoss, who has owned businesses in Ottawa’s downtown for more than 30 years, said he takes the Kansas weather in stride, so he wasn’t too surprised by the recent cold snap. 

“Up until this week, we played about every day,” he said. 

The below-freezing temperatures and cloudy skies have kept the remnants of last week’s snowstorm from fully melting. With temperatures not expected to climb too much above freezing through this week, snow and ice might stick around a bit longer, though no more snow is in the forecast. In fact, the forecast is up in the air, one meteorologist said. 

“It looks like what we’re going to experience for the month of January is there is an equal chance of seeing either below-normal, above-normal or normal temperatures,” Kris Sanders, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, said. 

That might sound vague, he said, but forecasting too far into the future can be difficult. The best bet right now, he said, is to count on the weather to continue on the same trend as the previous winter, with some brief warm periods followed by some cold periods that “kind of average everything out.” 

Gene Kramer, owner of Kramer Pharmacy, 134 S. Main St., Ottawa, said he had been watching the weather for the past few days and isn’t sure anyone is fully ready for cold like they are experiencing this week. 

“Knew it was coming. I guess you’re never ready until you feel it,” Kramer said Wednesday in the warmth of his downtown business. 

A resident of Ottawa for about six years, Kramer said he often has contemplated heading south for the winter like birds do annually.

“Every year I think I need to go somewhere where it’s warmer, but I never get it done,” Kramer said with a smile. 

The area’s drought conditions likely will continue, meteorologist Sanders said. It would take an active weather disturbance, like El Niño or La Niña, to knock the area out of the neutral-type weather now lingering, he said. El Niño and La Niña are not currently affecting this area, which makes it difficult to get any kind of active weather pattern in the region, he said. 

“We look to remain in this neutral weather pattern through the spring,” he said. 

The cold weather might have boosted some residents’ holiday spirit, but Ottawan Bob Becker said he would prefer the area’s weather cycle return to normal. 

“I like the normal cycle better, so that the normal things happen,” Becker said, indicating the devastating effects the drought continues to have on the area’s crops, animals and people. 

With a little snow on the ground and a nip in the air, Becker, a technology specialist at the Ottawa Library, said it did seem more “Christmasy.” He added that in his 30 years of living in Ottawa, there haven’t been many White Christmases, though he can remember one three years ago that he said dumped 3 to 4 feet of snow on the area. 

Like many states in the Midwest, the weather continues to be an ever-changing, ever-discussed topic. Sanders said the best bet is for people to keep on their toes. 

“With Kansas, it’s usually a balancing act where we’ll see warm periods followed by cold periods and those can average out,” he reiterated. “It’s only how long will the warm stick around and how long will the cold stick around?”

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