Hunkering Down For A Holiday Blizzard

There’s a storm coming. It probably won’t hit with the severity they’re predicting two days ahead of it’s arrival [it didn’t], but it’s probably still going to be freezing cold and awful for the whole thing [it was] even if it never quite reaches the monstrous blizzard severity they’re saying is possible. I mean, that’s the thing about living where I do. We tend to catch the edge of every storm that swings down from Canada toward the rest of the Midwest and upper East Coast, but we rarely get hit by the worst of it. As someone who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, getting frequently struck by heavy storms and intense weather of all kinds, I kind of miss it. Sure, my perspective now would be very different, since I actually need to go places, do things, and ostensibly keep my home accessible to the world, but I wouldn’t mind a day or two of being snowed in just to enjoy the cozy feeling of not needing to be anywhere while the snow falls.

That said, we’re looking at wind chills that could take us into potentially lethal territory, so I might have to put my daily walks on pause for a bit. Which is too bad, since I love going for a walk in a snow storm. Most of the danger is slipping or getting lost, but I walk on a sidewalk near a strip mall and through some neighborhoods, so my chances of getting lost are infinitesimal. Plus, I know how to navigate in a snowstorm (use your phone’s map and compass or landmarks if you can’t use your phone), so I’m confident I’m never going to get lost and die in a snowstorm in the suburbs. There’s not much I can do about incredibly cold temperatures, though. Usually, I draw the line at exposing my skin for anything less than an emergency at -20 degrees Fahrenheit, and the wind chills predicted for this storm will peak at about -50 degrees. I’m not going out in weather that will give my exposed skin frostbite in less than ten minutes when the exposed skin is going to be my face and eyes. I mean, my face still stings and tingles two and a half hours after today’s thirty-minute walk and it was only -10 with the worst of the gusts.

I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous about how my apartment will handle this extreme cold. It hasn’t handled even normal winter cold very well, given how drafty it has been, how poorly heated it is (the replacements for the baseboard heaters are entirely insufficient), and how many places in the apartment just radiate cold through the floors and walls. I’ve had to cover it in rugs, put plastic over windows, buy wall tapestries, and put rugs on top of carpet to handle a few spots that bleed heat out of my apartment even though the carpet and padding beneath it. This is going to be even more extreme than the past two winters, with massive gusts of freezing wind, and there’s even the potential for the power to go out if the storm gets bad enough. I’ve got a fireplace and enough wood to burn a decent sized fire for about twenty-four hours, just in case, but I’m still nervous. I’ve also got friends all over the city, so I will probably be able to get somewhere safe should the worst happen and my fireplace prove insufficient.

Hopefully this will just be a few cozy days at home of playing video games in my office with the space heater running, taking advantage of a holiday to play a longer D&D session with my Friday group, and then enjoying some cozy nights beneath a pile of blankets. I’ve got plenty of cider to heat (and mull, if I’m feeling ambitious), good warm food to eat, and a severe desire in body and soul to simply sit somewhere without doing much for an extended period of time. This could be a wonderful few days if nothing horrible happens and I suspect that nothing will. I’m just preparing myself for the horrible stuff because the horrible stuff carries a degree of lethal potential should it come to pass. I certainly hope that the local homeless shelters are prepared for people who need to get out of this extreme cold since nothing short of artic gear will suffice when it comes to this kind of weather.

Between starting to write this post and finishing it, the forecast has shifted from a severe storm to severe cold and wind with some heavy snow on one day and then eventually back to a severe storm for about forty-eight hours. I have three tabs open, all showing different forecasts from a spread of about an hour. It truly is a wild place to live all the time, what with all the potential for disastrous storms, the ever-shifting nature of recent forecasts, and that fact that being outside during this weather can kill you alarmingly quickly. Makes me wonder why I live here at all… I mean, I like snow and I enjoy a certain amount of cold weather, but this is ridiculous.

All of this will have passed by the time this goes up, of course. If the forecast holds out, it might even be above freezing since the current forecast for the end of the month involves temperatures in the mid-forties and heavy rain. It’s incredibly jarring to think about needing to be prepared to survive in case I lose power and that, about a week later, I might have to deal with my roof leaking and potential flooding around my apartment due to a mix of rain and snowmelt. What a world.

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