Cold didn't seem quite accurate to describe the temperatures in Newcomerstown last week.

More like arctic.

Sunday night (Jan. 5) temperatures were almost 50 degrees. However, a strong arctic blast dropped temperatures to minus 1 at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6. By Monday night, wind chills were between 20 and 40 degrees below zero.

The Tuscarawas Weather Network registered a wind chill temperature of -38 with an actual air temperature of -8.

Don Keating of Cambridge, an amateur meterologist. said these past couple of days have been the coldest it's been in this part of Ohio in the past 20 years.

Because of the cold temperatures many businesses closed in Newcomerstown and many events were canceled in Newcomerstown. The Newcomerstown Mayor's Bicentennial Luncheon on Jan. 6 was canceled.

Newcomerstown Bicentennial co-chairperson Pat Cadle said it just wasn't safe having people come out to the luncheon with temperatures dropping so low. When the luncheon would have been over, he said the temperature was 1 degree. He said it just wasn't safe.

The Newcomerstown Rotary Club and Newcomerstown Village Council meetings for last Monday night were both canceled.

However, the Newcomerstown Exempted Village and Indian Valley Local school districts were both in session Monday but dismissed students early. There were only four school districts in Tuscarawas County that had school Monday. Classes were canceled for Tuesday.

The Newcomerstown Police Department went to social media by telling their Facebook followers to "please bring your pets indoors. Check on your (elderly) neighbors, family and friends. If you do not have to go outside, don't go. If you do, please dress appropriately in layers."

The cold temperatures were being caused by one weather phenomenon -- polar vortex.

Twenty-six states were under wind-chill warnings or watches, and the polar vortex was to blame, breaking loose from its North Pole confines and plunging the country in a deep, dangerous freeze. A polar vortex is basically a great swirling pool of extremely cold air located tens of thousands of feet in the atmosphere.

On the bright side and for those that have had enough of winter, spring is less than 70 days away. A special spring countdown clock is available at Spring officially arrives on Thursday, March 20.

(Editor's Note: Don Keating's daily and weekly weather forecast is available on the web site.)