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Just Ask: What is an Arctic vortex?

Q: TV forecasters talk about “Alberta clippers” and “Arctic vortexes.” What are they?
A: Alberta clippers are fast-moving, snow-producing systems that originate in the lee of the Canadian Rockies.
They move quickly across the northern United States, often bringing cold, gusty winds.
An Arctic vortex, also called an “Arctic air mass,” is Arctic air that reaches great heights and is often defined by a semi-permanent and semi-continuous front.
This mass occasionally moves south, becoming more shallow in height, but still frigid. — The Weather Channel.
Q: What is the lowest temperature recorded in Ohio?
A: It was minus 39 degrees in Milligan, Perry County, about 15 miles south of Zanesville, on Feb. 10, 1899. — Various sources.
Q: Please! When does spring training begin?
A: Feb. 13, just 18 days.
Q: What are the basic origins of Findlay and Hancock County?
A: The region was surveyed in 1819 and 1820, allowing the Legislature to create 14 northwestern counties on April 1, 1820.
Wood County was among the first organized, and the others, including Hancock and Putnam counties, followed quickly.
“At the time of the organization of Wood County, the family of Benjamin J. Cox were (sic) the only white inhabitants of Hancock and it is hardly probable that Mr. Cox traveled to Maumee to cast his vote at the first election.”
The Wood County commissioners established Waynesfield Township, named to honor Gen. Anthony Wayne. It included all of today’s Wood and Hancock counties. They split off the part that became Hancock County as Findlay Township on May 28, 1823.
Four days later, the township’s first election was held in the home of Wilson Vance in what is now Findlay. Thirteen votes were recorded. — “History of Hancock County, Ohio,” 1886.
Q: If we go whale-watching while on vacation, will we be safe from the whales?
A: Most collisions between whale-watching boats and whales are accidental and no one gets hurt, including the whale. Law requires boats to keep at least 100 yards from whales.
Collisions between yachts or sailboats and whales are more more frequent, although their numbers are uncertain because, authorities suspect, captains fear that notifying the Coast Guard may lead to legal problems.
During the whale-oil trade in the 1800s, sperm whales regularly attacked whaling ships, biting off pieces or whipping their tails at ships’ smallboats.
The most famous attack was on the U.S. whaler Essex in 1820, when a male sperm whale twice rammed it nearly head-on, sinking the 238-ton vessel while protecting its own head from the sharpest part of the ship.
No one knows why the whale attacked, but one theory is that tapping from a carpenter’s hammer may have resembled noises made by rival males.
The wreck was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” — Brian Palmer, Slate.

Q: What is Ohio’s state beverage?
A: Tomato juice.
Q: What did publisher Bennett Cerf (1898-1971) say?
A: “Good manners: The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.”
Spoon-feed your questions to Send an E-mail to justask, or to Just Ask, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay, OH 45839.

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