The New Normal

Mid-day, 11 degrees. The wind chill is often several degrees lower. That’s becoming the norm these days.

Often an editorial commenting on the weather can be out of date by the time the newspaper is in our readers’ hands, because of the unavoidable delay from writing to printing to distributing. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with comments about the weather these days.

We have been treated to almost daily snow, in addition to the 2 feet of snow already sitting on the ground. The wind picks up every once in a while, and the temperatures are stuck well below freezing. Hitting the low 20s is a high point for us.

Our unofficial records show snow on Jan. 3, 9, 12, 15, 24, 27 and 30, and Feb. 2, 4, 8 and 9.

So now that we’re convinced snow and cold are part of our lives for a while, we’d like to remind you of how to deal with them. That means getting snow off your roof, keeping your walkway and driveway sanded and as safe as possible – including the path to your gas or oil tank – and keeping on hand food and other items you need to be comfortable if you can’t get to the store, or a power outage occurs. Be careful with space heaters and generators, and make sure the outdoor vents are kept free of snow. And bring your pets inside.

Road conditions are dangerous – stay off the streets unless you absolutely have to get somewhere important. If you do travel, clean the snow and ice off your car – it’s the law, and leaving it there is a danger to yourself and other drivers. And maybe it’s time to have a conversation at work about telecommuting.

The almost “snowbound” nature of the weather makes it important to check on elderly neighbors or those who live alone. And if you’re getting cabin fever yourself, give a friend a call to chat.

When everything that can be done is done, take time to relax, or get out the cross-country skis or snowshoes and – you  have to admit it – enjoy the beauty of the snow amidst the trees.

It’s not all negative. We’ve seen evidence of the good-hearted spirit the wintry weather brings – a call to a neighbor to offer a grocery run, a private plow driver who stops to clear the berm of a resident wielding only a shovel, and then declines payment.  In spite of the freezing temperatures, these acts of caring warm the heart.

So try to stay warm and comfortable, and know that spring is not all that far away.

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