The very name stuck fear into the hearts of people in much of the country last week. Those fears were justified for folks struggling to pay heating bills, or working outside. I certainly didn’t greet the arrival of the vortex with cheer last Monday as I felt the thermometer plunge from 58° to 27° while I was helping string fence on a windswept section of Eastern Colorado.
But the prolonged blast of brutal temperatures may be a very good thing come next spring.
Bugs, you see, don’t really do well when the weather turns from a warm fall day to mid-winter over the course of a few hours. They do even worse when those arctic temperatures hang around for a long spell.
As winter temperatures have warmed incrementally over the past few years, farmers have faced additional challenges each growing season because increasing numbers of bugs have over-wintered. And, it’s not just farmers who are impacted. Pine beetles have devastated forests across much of the West over the past decade. Forest biologists blame much of the problem on the fact that temperatures in the western forests have been milder than average.
So, there’s reason to smile just a bit when the forecasters predict that last week’s vortex may be a foreshadowing of the winter ahead.
Just bundle up and stay warm.