Gusty winds in the wake of a midweek Nor’easter sets the stage for a frigid weekend with potentially dangerous wind chills.
The storm system that rolled up the East Coast Wednesday into Thursday brought only a coating of fresh snow to the Carlisle area, but behind it comes brutal wind chills from gusts approaching 35 to 40 miles per hour, said Dan Tomaso, a meteorologist with ABC27.
The cold snap this weekend could trump the New Year’s Eve forecast, Tomaso said, noting that the mercury Friday morning could slip to about negative 10 degrees in parts of the Midstate.
Temperatures are expected to climb to a daytime high of about 16 degrees on Friday and 12 degrees on Saturday, Tomaso said. He added a warm-up is expected into the upper 30s Monday into Tuesday. This would be closer to the normal high for the region of 38 degrees and the normal low of 24 degrees.
The extreme cold broke a 100-year record early Wednesday morning with a temperature of minus one at Harrisburg International Airport in Middletown, Tomaso said. The old record low for Jan. 3 was four degrees.
With those temperatures, it’s vital to take precautions.
“The obvious thing is trying to keep out of the cold air as much as possible,” said Dr. Chad Jumper with Boiling Springs Family Medicine, UPMC Pinnacle.
Those who must go out in the cold should take special care to protect their extremities — fingers, toes, ears and nose, Jumper said. When the body temperature starts to drop, the body pulls blood from the extremities into its core to protect vital organs. That means wearing gloves, extra socks and even sunglasses to protect the eyes from the wind.
“Keep as many areas of your body covered as you can,” Jumper said.
Frigid temperatures can cause cell damage, as is seen in frostbite, or even death as the cold slows the heart rate. A skin color change to a white or gray color and cold, numb feelings are early signs of frostbite. Coordination issues and difficulty moving are also signals of impending danger from the cold.
“If you are outside and start to feel groggy, dizzy and fatigued, it would be a good idea to get inside,” Jumper said.
Dr. Kathy Purcell at Boiling Springs Animal Hospital said similar precautions should be taken for pets.
“Limiting the time outside for any dog that is really small is important,” Purcell said.
Smaller dogs may be further protected with coats and other cold weather gear made especially for them.
Purcell recommended that outside dogs be taken into a basement or other shelter to protect them from the wind. If they are used to being outside, they will be able to cope with temperatures as low as 20 or 30 degrees if they are protected from the wind.
“The biggest thing is shelter, just like for us,” she said.
The reality is, though, that dogs will need to go outside at some point during the deep chill. Purcell recommended that people not take their dogs out for recreational play when the temperature drops below 15, and that they pay special attention to the dog’s feet, ears, tails and lips for signs of frostbite.
Dogs with lighter-colored noses are susceptible to greater irritation from the cold, so owners are advised to coat the dog’s nose with protection like Chapstick or Vaseline and keep the dog’s nose moisturized.
Carlisle CARES has been preparing for the cold by taking measures to assure as many as possible can find a place to get warm.
“We try to do everything we can,” Executive Director Shari Bellish said.
For example, a homeless person who has not gone through the intake process for the center will be permitted to sit in the lobby of the resource center on West Penn Street. Usually, the center closes over meal times, but Bellish said it would stay open to allow people to come in from the cold.
“Basically, we become a warming station,” she said.
The shelter also implements a standby procedure to allow more people in the overnight shelter as space becomes available. Bellish said she also asks the churches that host the shelter if they would be willing to take additional people during cold snaps.
“Sometimes the churches are willing to let us squeeze in a couple more,” she said.
The capacity for the shelter, however, also depends upon the number of volunteers available to serve overnight. The shelter maintains a volunteer-to-guest ratio, and the number of guests must decrease if the number of volunteers decrease. If the organization can’t meet that ratio, it has to turn people away.
The cold weather comes at a time of year when Carlisle CARES is typically low on volunteers due to people traveling. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Carlisle CARES at 717-249-1009.
HARRISBURG — While most people spent Dec. 24 preparing for Christmas, Jim Victor and Marie Pelton shivered in a refrigerated case while creating the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show butter sculpture.
While most folks relaxed on New Year’s Day, the Montgomery County sculptors continued to work on turning 1,100 pounds of butter into an artistic way of highlighting Pennsylvania’s dairy diversity.
On Thursday, they unveiled their work, which features a dairy cow, a dairy farmer, an agronomist who specializes in soil management and crop production, a corn plant, a milk processor and a consumer with a basket of Pennsylvania products.
The butter sculpture, a “must see” Farm Show attraction since it debuted in 1991, each year educates and entertains nearly a half million visitors to the nation’s largest indoor agricultural exposition. The butter, not suitable for human consumption, was donated by Land O’Lakes in South Middleton Township.
Sponsored by the American Dairy Association North East and created by the Conshohocken husband and wife sculpting team, who has made the popular attraction for several years, the butter sculpture will be displayed during the eight-day show. The Farm Show opens at 8 a.m. Saturday and runs through 5 p.m. Jan. 13 in the state Farm Show Complex at Cameron and Maclay streets. Admission is free but parking is $15 a vehicle..
“This sculpture captures the diversity of careers and roles that make just one industry, dairy of our broader agricultural sector, possible, said state Agricultural Secretary Russell C. Redding at the unveiling.
Keeping with the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show theme of “Strength in our Diversity,” Redding said the state’s 6,700 dairy farms are diverse and strong. “We have small herds and large herds in all corners of the commonwealth,” he said. “The dairy industry provides 60,000 jobs.”
Maria Forry, a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon Dairy in Lititz, called the butter sculpture a creative way to showcase the industry. Her family milks 500 cows three times a day, provides milk to Oregon Dairy, farms 1,000 acres and operates a grocery store, restaurant and bakery.
The husband and wife sculptors said they split up the work in making the sculpture each year. They start with a metal frame that serves as the sculpture skeleton and put that in the seven-sided refrigerated case in the Farm Show Complex Main Exhibition Hall. Wearing gloves and jackets, they cut butter from big blocks. They put gobs of butter onto the frame, then spent the next 14 days using modeling and drywall tools and special knives to turn the butter into a creamy work of art.
Pelton said after the Farm Show, the butter will be scraped from the frame and donated to a Juniata County dairy farm. It will be put through a methane digester where it becomes methane, a gas that burns in engines and can produce electricity. One butter sculpture generally produces enough electricity to power a farm for three days.
Pennsylvania Alternate Dairy Princess Casandra Blickley of Elverson, a Delaware Valley University large animal science major, said the dairy industry is thriving in Pennsylvania. She quoted the United States Department of Agriculture as saying that Pennsylvania has 525,000 cows and 6,700 dairy farms. She said latest statistics show that Pennsylvania produces 10.9 billion pounds of milk a year and ranks sixth in milk production and second in butter production.
State Rep. Will Tallman announced Wednesday evening that he will not seek re-election for his statehouse seat in the 193rd District, which represents parts of southern Cumberland and northern Adams counties.
The Republican legislator said he planned to retire after his fifth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He was first elected in 2008. The 193rd District covers parts of Cumberland and Adams counties, including Cooke Township, Mount Holly Springs, North Newton Township, Penn Township, South Middleton Township and South Newton Township.
Tallman won his last election in 2016 with about 75 percent of the vote. That set up his first term covering Cumberland County. His district formerly covered only Adams County, but was changed after redistricting.
“Being a state representative is very time consuming and you’re away from home a lot — even though I’m local to Harrisburg — and I’m getting up there in years,” Tallman said. “It’s time to pass the torch on to someone younger.”
While he’s leaving the statehouse at the end of the year, Tallman said he won’t be going away entirely.
“I’m still going to be involved in politics, I’m just not going to be a representative,” Tallman said.
Tallman pointed to a bill protecting first responders as one of his greatest legislative accomplishments. The bill extended legal recourse to police and firefighters who were struck while attending to roadside accident scenes, similar to laws protecting construction workers.
“As a volunteer firefighter myself, I know how dangerous that can be,” Tallman said.
He also parted with a suggestion for his Harrisburg colleagues: change the way state legislative committee chairs are chosen so that the committees elect their own chair, as opposed to operating on a strict party seniority system.
This would give the most effective legislators chairmanship, the most important part of moving critical bills forward in a timely manner, Tallman said.
“Things do not occur very fast in Harrisburg and it can be frustrating,” Tallman said. “I think the committee chairs should be done differently, more like how they’re done in Washington, D.C.”
Tallman’s seat is considered safely Republican, with Tallman having received 74 percent of the vote in 2016.
Each legislative session thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Only a fraction become law, and an even smaller portion receive wide media coverage.
These bills impact the lives of people living in Pennsylvania every day.
Each week The Sentinel will highlight one bill that has not received widespread attention.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in every five women and one in every 16 men are sexually assaulted while attending college.
However, for a host of reasons, roughly 90 percent of those assaults are not reported to authorities, according to the NSVRC.
State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery County, has introduced a bill aimed at eliminating at least one of those impediments to reporting.
House Bill 1757 would provide limited immunities from penalties, such as those for drugs and alcohol on campus, for victims and bystanders who report sexual assaults.
“Sadly, most instances of sexual violence go unreported to campus officials or to the police. The silence of bystanders is an obstacle to overcoming this scourge,” Dean wrote in a co-sponsorship letter. “Beyond the difficulty of coming forward itself, victims and Samaritans should not fear further punishment for incidental infractions.”
Dean’s bill would require colleges and universities to institute a policy that the school will not punish a victim or bystander for a drug or alcohol violation who reports an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.
Schools that do not institute such a policy would not be eligible for state funds for institutional assistance grants from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
The bill is meant to increase reporting of campus assaults by eliminating the fear of punishment for victims and bystanders.
“It is crucial to remove what obstacles we can, so that students are less afraid to come forward and give voice to their assault, and to protect others,” Dean wrote.
Similar laws have been implemented for witnesses of drug overdoses and have been found to increase reporting incidents to police, according to a study conducted by the University of Washington.