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Arctic cold retreats, but it's been arctic before!

People bundle up to prevent frostbite

After this coming Sunday, January 6, 2018, the brutally cold air that's had Southern New England in its grip since Christmas will finally make a departure. Temperatures will moderate back to or above seasonal averages.

But that got me thinking. So I searched our NBC 10 WJAR Providence archives, and found a story I did 4 years ago, on January 30th, 2014, talking about the frozen bays after a multi-day arctic cold snap.

If you dig deeper, you'll find some great reporting in the Jamestown Press from March 6, 2014, about really historic Arctic Cold Snaps that have literally frozen-over Narragansett Bay. Reporters Rosemary Enright and Sue Maden discovered that Roger Williams reported the upper part of Narragansett Bay was a big block of ice in 1636 when he bailed from Salem, Massachusetts, and arrived in Providence. Their article gives other examples. "...The winter of 1740-41 was, according to Deputy Governor William Greene...'the coldest known in New England since the memory of man.'..." For example "... said Greene, '...Narragansett Bay was soon frozen over, and people passed and repassed from Providence to Newport on the ice, and from Newport to Bristol.'..." They report that happened again in the Winter of 1779-80, with 11 days in a row below zero, along with 3 major Nor'easters! "...Not only did the bay freeze, but according to some sources, much of Block Island Sound and the ocean beyond almost to the Gulf Stream was solid...." Can you imagine?! Food shortages ensued, there was no more firewood, according to their report. They document another Arctic Invasion in 1893, 1904, 1918, 1934. You see where I'm going with this? There's nothing new under the sun. This stuff has happened before, and it'll happen again.

So, focus on the 'January Thaw' that's on the way this upcoming week. And if you really have had enough (already), think Spring!



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