Travis Miller had a different take on this weekend’s winter weather than most of his Jasper County neighbors— he was relieved.
Miller opened a snow removal business four years ago when he and his family moved to Monroe. Last winter’s lack of snowfall hurt his bottom line, but the five inches of accumulation the small Jasper County town has seen since Dec. 28 was as good as “Auld Lang Syne” to Miller’s ears.
“Last year was pretty bad. It’s early yet, but this snow does help,” he said Friday outside of Monroe’s U.S. Post Office.
But the story leading into 2018 was not just the snow but the record-setting subzero temperatures. Jasper County has not seen a day with temperature’s above 0 degrees since Dec. 30 when the mercury hit a balmy 1 degree. On New Year’s Eve, the daytime high only reached -5 degrees in Newton.
According to data from the National Weather Service, Newton saw temperatures drop to -20 degrees in the early morning hours New Years Day and stayed there until 8:35 a.m. Wind chill levels made temperatures feel more like -38 degrees. This beat the all-time record low temperature of -16 set in 1974.
The New Year’s Day temperature peaked around 3:30 p.m. reaching only -4 degrees. Newton’s average high for the first day of January is 27 degrees. Colfax was the hot spot Monday in Jasper County maxing out at -2 degrees.
The weather service is expecting temperatures to remain dangerously cold for the next five days. A wind chill warning is expected to expire at noon Tuesday, but another episode of bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills are forecast from Wednesday night into Friday.
Daytime high temperatures are expected to be above 0 degrees this week, beginning Tuesday with a predicted high of 11 degrees. But single digits will return Wednesday and Thursday with overnight lows dropping to between -10 and -12 degrees.
Forecasters are expecting temperatures to finally return to the upper teens Saturday and 31 degrees Sunday with a chance of snow.
Contact Mike Mendenhall at email@example.com