T-shirt weather in January

Bright sunshine and warm temperatures greeted folks in Johnstown on Wednesday, JHan. 15, 2020, as Terry Lingenfelter, of Altoona, wearing only a T-shirt, passes by a painting of Santa Claus on the window of Press Bistro at Central Park Complex downtown. 

The recent spell of spring-like warm weather that shattered high-temperature records in the Johnstown region and across much of the rest of the northeastern United States is about to break, according to an AccuWeather meteorologist.

“We’re finally going back into a more wintery weather pattern, compared to what it’s been like since Christmas, which has been very, very mild,” David Bowers, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather in State College, said on Wednesday.

Johnstown-area residents should expect “a couple snow showers and a gusty, cold wind” on Thursday, Bowers said. Forecasts indicate that up to an inch of snow could accumulate during the day; the forecasted high temperature is 39 degrees.

A winter storm is expected to reach Johnstown and the rest of the northeastern United States over the weekend. The storm system is still located off the coast of California, Bowers said on Wednesday, so it has “a lot of ground to cover” before it reaches the Johnstown region and starts dumping precipitation, which could happen at around daybreak on Saturday.

About 1 to 3 inches of snow is expected to accumulate on Saturday before the precipitation changes over to rain. AccuWeather’s forecasted high temperature for Saturday is 41 degrees, but temperatures are expected to drop into the the 20s on Saturday night and stay there on Sunday, which will be “a blustery, cold day,” Bowers said.

There should be a few more snow showers on Saturday night, with accumulation of up to 1 additional inch, and a little more snow could accumulate along the region’s ridgetops during the day on Sunday, Bowers said.

On Saturday, a total of 61 locations across the eastern United States tied or broke their high-temperature records for Jan. 11, according to the National Weather Service. Johnstown was among them, with a measured high of 64 degrees.

The area’s previous record high of 62 degrees was set in 1963. Record highs for the date were also recorded in Altoona, Du Bois, Erie, Pittsburgh, Reading and Philadelphia, among others.

Some of the broken records dated back to the late 1800s.

In Charleston, West Virginia, temperatures hit 80 degrees at around 4 p.m. Saturday, according to a Twitter post by AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson. That shattered Charleston’s record high for the date of 71 degrees, set in 2018, according to the National Weather Service.

As colder temperatures approach and people prepare to spend more time indoors, officials from Peoples Natural Gas in Pittsburgh issued a reminder this week about the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and the importance of home carbon monoxide detectors.

Carbon monoxide, abbreviated CO, is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced when fuel is burned without enough air for complete combustion, Peoples officials said. In large amounts, the gas can cause headaches, unconsciousness, brain damage and death. According to Peoples, inefficient combustion and poor ventilation can cause build-ups of carbon monoxide indoors as fuel is burned for heating during cold weather.

“Every winter we receive multiple service calls involving carbon monoxide,” Barry Leezer Sr., Peoples’ senior director of customer operations, said in a news release issued on Monday. “The calls come from neighborhoods of all ages and income levels throughout our territory. Commercial accounts and businesses also need to train their employees on the dangers and how to identify a possible CO situation. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be educated about the symptoms.”

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include headaches, drowsiness, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, confusion, blurred vision, irregular breathing or shortness of breath, very red lips and ears, overall paleness, vomiting and loss of coordination. Those experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning should open windows and doors, move outside and call 911 or their local fire department, according to Peoples.

Among the steps people can take to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Peoples, include installing battery-operated or plug-in carbon monoxide detectors in their homes; avoiding the use of portable charcoal and propane grills indoors or in the garage; avoiding running automobiles, gasoline engines and generators in enclosed spaces; and keeping gas appliances’ air vents clear.

Mark Pesto is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkPesto.

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