I’m writing this from upstate NY, outside of Albany, but from what I can tell, this post could be written almost anywhere in the US right now.
I’ll admit I didn’t sleep as well last night as I’d have liked. I kept waking up expecting to hear the beep of UPSs or other indications we’d lost power. About the only sound I heard was a snow plow go by once or twice.
We’re fine here. Most schools are on winter break as it is, but those which weren’t are closed for the day. Scattered power outages, but I suspect most will be back in a few hours. And it’s supposed to warm up into the 40s later today. I’m not too worried.
But, I’m looking at reports from caving and #sqlfamily friends and coworkers from across the country and it’s grim.
From one: I have about one bar left on my battery and no power.
Just saw another: And then the power went out.
Another had a nice screen shot of her pool in Texas freezing over. I should point out, that’s COLD. Not just “oh it’s 31F cold” but much colder because generally a pool has quite a bit of latent heat in it and even though it’s just the surface freezing, it means that the heat in the water deeper in the pool can’t keep the surface warm.
I’m reading reports of rolling blackouts in Texas and portions of the Rocky Mountain states. For example, Texas hit a new record for a single day demand as everyone turned on any electric heating device they could find.
That said, even for everyone who survives this deep freeze (and let’s be honest and clear here, there are some who won’t. Most of us will never know their names, they’re the ones sleeping under a bridge overpass, living in a trailer on the edge of town without access to better resources, the person living in their car who can’t get to a shelter) the problems are just beginning.
There’s going to be a lot of folks reporting water damage due to burst pipes. There’s going to be a lot of car repairs for folks whose cars have been damaged or even totaled due to accidents.
And I highly suspect there’s going to be a marked increase in energy prices over the next few months. From what I understand, the largest refinery in the US shut down yesterday due to the weather. A number of well heads have frozen, and more. Now, this is not an apocalyptical catastrophe. Most will be up and running in the next few days, but such a disruption will cause ripple effects.
Combine that with the ongoing economic impact of COVID on jobs and the economy in general, let me just say Spring can’t come soon enough.
I’m fortunate and I know that. I’m warm. I have heat and electricity. I have plenty of food in the house and neither my wife nor I have lost work in the past year. But I think and worry about those not as fortunate. I’ve contributed more to charities this year than the past and expect to continue to do so. I’ll continue with my other charity work and continue to advocate for policies I think that will help others that need it.
But I still hope for Spring, both literally and figuratively.