Yeah, it's so cold my thesaurus is stuck. Best-read of the terrific lizards, but even on a steady diet of steamy beach novels, they grind to a halt when the thermometer drops below zero. Which ours has. Well below.
It's so cold that the giant CFL "farm light" lighting my back yard (which replaced the old mercury-vapor after it gave up over the course of a cold winter) is putting out a dim fraction of its usual light. It's so cold that a local TV station, in the heart of central steam-heated downtown Indianapolis* went out into their parking lot and showed the Polar explorer trick of tossing a mugful of boiling water into the air, where it instantly froze to snow. (The utility is assiduous about controlling steam leaks but in cold weather, a careful eye can usually spot one or two manholes in the service area emitting a plume of steam. I'll bet those are interesting in the cold!)
City trash pick-up and Federal mail has been cancelled for today and tomorrow and the various road projects underway are all on hold until the weather improves. Indianapolis is nowhere near the heart of this cold, but like most of the continental U.S., we're seeing temperatures that have been -- so far -- once-in-a-lifetime.
Be careful out there. Better yet, don't go out there. Temperatures will be in the fifties by the weekend.
* Indianapolis has the second-largest steam utility system in the United States, delivering steam for heating and industrial purposes to businesses and residences in and near the"Mile Square" of downtown. But good luck finding out much about it! Currently, it appears to be run by Citizen's Energy Group, our public-trust gas and water utility, though as nearly as I can determine, the electric utility -- Indianapolis Power and Light at the time -- set it up in the 1920s and ran it for many years. The steam is a byproduct of a generating station just south of downtown. which weaned itself off coal in 2014. Presumably it burns natural gas now. I have certain fondness for it; I lived for several years in a downtown apartment building on central steam heat, warm and a little noisy as air went knocking up the pipes.
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