Nothing warm can stay: Freezing temps are on their way back

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 20, 2014 

Cover the outdoor faucets, get ready to bring the dogs and cats in the house and do whatever it is you do to your outside plants to keep them from freezing to death.

That’s the bad news as Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley brace for the second wave of sub-freezing weather this month.

The temperature is forecast to dip below freezing in Columbus the next seven mornings and there is a possibility it could be in the upper teens or low 20s by Friday night.

All of the bugs — especially those pesky and disease-carrying mosquitoes — are about to freeze to death, right?

Not so fast, says Columbus State University professor emeritus George Stanton.

“I have been asked this question by people like you a lot,” Stanton said Monday. “It is not crazy, but it is not that simple.”

Stanton, a biology professor and former CSU administrator, said many bugs will find a way to survive the cold. And those in the egg stage have a great chance of getting through a hard freeze.

“You can relax. There will be mosquitoes next summer,” Stanton said. “It is too broad a conclusion to say the cold kills them. These insects can reproduce so quickly.”

He points to the Asian Tiger mosquitoes that have moved into the region in the last decade.

“They have really invaded our part of the world in the last 10 years of so,” he said. “If they have the slightest water — a dog bowl that a dog is no longer using or some debris that holds standing water, they will come roaring back.”

Stanton pointed out that mosquitoes have a 10-day reproduction cycle.

WRBL Chief Meteorologist Bob Jeswald said he is no bug expert, but he knows enough about the weather to know this month has been a cold one.

“Compared to last year — when we had record highs — is has been really cold,” Jeswald said. “Before it is over, this will probably be one of the coldest Januarys on record. It is colder than typical.”

The National Weather Service said the average temperature in the first three weeks of the year has been 41.6 degrees, more than five degrees below average. On Jan. 7, the 11-degree low set a record for that date.

“We have already had the really extreme cold two weeks ago,” Jeswald said. “This may not technically be as cold as it was then, but I think it would be good to remind people to check the pipes and make sure they are still insulated.”

The temperatures will be noticeably cooler Tuesday. After a high in the mid 60s on Monday, it is projected to reach 50, with it dropping down to the mid-20s on Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service office in Peachtree City, Ga.

It could fall to the upper teens by Saturday morning, the National Weather Service said.

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