Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for January 6th, 2014

Wisconsin’s Winter Weather Nightmare

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Folks, the weather here is brutal. I do not say this lightly.

Currently, it’s -13 F with a wind chill factor of -45 F. These are the worst conditions I’ve seen in thirty-plus years in any part of the Midwest — and considering I used to live in Nebraska, where it often gets colder than Wisconsin during the winter, that’s saying something.

Consider, please, that right now it’s warmer in Idaho than it is in Wisconsin. And that almost never happens.

This weather is not conducive toward much, I’m afraid. I’m trying to work, but am worried the power will go out. If it does, everyone in the outage area will be in deep trouble, as unlike our ancestors, we do not have wood-fired stoves or even pot-bellied stoves . . . we only have electric and gas stoves, which are much more dependent on external infrastructure than I like to contemplate under the circumstances.

Years ago, when I moved to Colorado with my ex-husband due to his military service, I was delighted to find that most Colorado apartments include fireplaces as a matter of course. That meant in a power outage, we’d not be in danger of cold. And even without a power outage, firelight is both calming and comforting, so it was definitely an excellent thing to have.

In Wisconsin, it’s very rare to find fireplaces included in apartments or homes unless you’re talking about someone very, very wealthy (which I’m not). But I’m betting many people — not just me — are wishing they had a fireplace right now, because the temperatures outside are so bad that everyone’s being advised to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.

Now, what does this mean in practical terms? It means that I’m sitting inside a house that’s struggling to keep the temperature up high enough to sustain human life, along with nearly every other home and apartment in the Midwest. And the resulting power drain has to be straining the electric company’s ability to cope.

This is why the following sentence keeps coming to mind:


Written by Barb Caffrey

January 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm