Carolyn’s Online Magazine (COMe)
PITTSBURGH: HOCKEY AND A BIG CHILL
It’s a chilly 5 degrees out…not counting the wind chill.
When the weather report broke into the soft background music accompanying my novel writing time I sat back and reflected on my experience during the previous weekend.
My husband Monte and I traveled to both New Kensington and Pittsburgh (both in Pennsylvania) to attend hockey games at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena and the Airport Ice Arena, respectively. Our 9-year-old grandson Vince is on the Cleveland Heights Tigers hockey team, which was participating in the 2015 Three Rivers Cup Hockey Tournament. Along with our son Nolan we watched four hockey games. Vince’s team came in second only to Pittsburgh’s Steel City Renegades Hockey Team. (Article: Three Rivers Cup Hockey Tournament 2015)
My husband and I stayed at a motel near New Kensington on Saturday evening, and stayed at the Sheraton Hotel with our son Sunday night.
“It’s 8 degrees in Buffalo (er, Orchard Park),” one man told me while we waited for a game to begin. “That doesn’t include the wind chill.” Two teams in the tournament were from New York state—Tonawanda and West Seneca.
Being dressed appropriately the cold of the arenas wasn’t bad, although I did feel a bit chilly at the end of the games. By then, used to the cold, the outside wasn’t bad. The car took time to warm up, but I’d tucked a blanket in the back seat just in case.
Sunday afternoon I decided to walk to Station Square, but wasn’t sufficiently intelligent to ask if there was a hotel door close to the mall. No, I had to exit the front door and walk around the large hotel, along the Ohio River bank, in the brisk wind chill. Needless to say I was quite cold when I arrived. On Tuesday I read that Sunday’s high temperature of 6 degrees broke a record for the coldest recorded high temperature of the day. The record of 8 degrees was set in 1943.
I was quite surprised at how few persons I saw in Station Square as I wandered about exploring. On Tuesday I also read that the Strip District was just as devoid of people on Sunday.
Pittsburgh, like much of the eastern United States, was paralyzed by the storms pummeling the region.
“The Arctic air just came through (Saturday), and it stayed cold,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Rihaan Gangat. “It should be relatively warm (Monday), and by that I mean just a few degrees more and not that warm at all.”*
In fact, Ithaca , New York officials pulled a pop-up window on its tourism page urging potential visitors to opt for the Florida Keys, not to return until things thaw out.
From our hotel room we could see that the Ohio River was frozen, but not so much so that barges couldn’t travel, cutting a swath of water between the ice. Trains managed to rush by on the tracks along the river bank. The night was clear so I went out on the balcony with my camera (minus tripod) and attempted to take pictures of the Pittsburgh bridges and city lights.
Fortunately, during our travels we experienced minimal snow. That is, until we returned to Stahlstown. Monte was volunteering at the Open Hands Ministry for a couple of hours en route home. We left early and had to wipe the snow off our car. The roads were challenging, but we only had about 7 miles to go. It was the first time this year I’d had to be out in the nasty weather, and I thought we’d never come back from this one.
Arriving home I read about the blizzard ripping into already battered New England. Wind gusts could reach 75 mph on Cape Cod.
Before we left for Pittsburgh, when the storms began hitting the Boston area I’d told my friend, also a New Englander, that I would like to be there.
“I would too,” she said.
I’d still like to be there—but only if I didn’t have to travel and the power stayed on.
For the next few days I’ll content myself in staying home, writing and cleaning. Isn’t that what this winter chill is meant for?
P. S. As I post this the radio announced the temperature in Pittsburgh is 7 degrees. Our thermometer registers zero degrees.