Saturday, January 9, 2010

Arctic Express update, school closings polls, and a huge thank you!

The coldest weather in 13 years (since winter of 1996) will continue for about 24 more hours before moderation begins, and then downright AVERAGE conditions return next week. Right now, I'd settle for average. My best descriptor for the current cold blast is "unreasonable."

Though no records are being broken at the official recording station for Memphis, that doesn't mean it's not bitter. A good sign, though, is the cancellation this morning of the Wind Chill Advisory, which requires wind chills below zero to be in effect. Clouds overnight, which acted like a blanket over the region, and slightly less wind kept the wind chills above zero - barely. Today we'll be looking for highs in the mid 20s with one more cold night tonight as lows bottom out between 10-15. Flurries are not out of the question for about 24 more hours. By Sunday, we "jump" back up to freezing, 40s are expected Monday and Tuesday, then near 50 the rest of the week. I'm excited to see 40s in the near future! (As a side note, you may be interested in seeing what is coming for the warmer months this year. Check out this blog post by my friend Paul Yeager on one model's expectations for the summer of 2010, which include the possibility of a cool and wet summer ahead for the Mid-South.)

School closing polls
I don't throw out opinions on school closings here on the blog, as I don't envy the job that the administrators have when deciding whether or not to cancel classes. There always a contingent that feel like the wrong decision was made, whether it was to cancel or not, and usually it's not a "no-brainer" decision. A pair of polls I conducted (unscientfically) regarding Thursday's cancellations proves the point. The results will be posted in the sidebar of this blog through the weekend. For those whose children were OUT of school on Thursday (in Shelby County, that would be the county students), two-thirds liked the decision to cancel, one-third thought the kids needed to be in school. For those whose children were IN SCHOOL Thursday (Memphis City, among others), it was just about the same - one-third thought being in school was the right thing and all of the rest but one thought they should have been out. One person expressed no opinion. Overall, it looks like two-thirds of my readers (who expressed an opinion) thought the kids should be out.

With appreciation
I also want to thank so many of you for making, this blog, and the social media side of MWN one of your trusted sources during this winter weather episode. The numbers are in and they are simply incredible. Two of the top four days in the blog's history with respect to visitor count (and 3 of the top 10) were this week. A new record for visitors and page loads was established, besting the previous mark by almost 50%! On the website, numbers were similar - 2 of the top 4 days for visitor counts and 2 of the top 5 for pages loaded were this week. I am so appreciative of the trust you have placed in MWN to be an accurate and comprehensive source of information in times when it really matters. It is not something I take lightly. Again, many MANY thanks! We have some great things in the planning stages for 2010 and I am looking forward to making them available to you in the coming months, in order to build on the solid foundation that has been laid.

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