This cold spell requires some North Country hardiness — and some North Country caring.
It has been a rough winter, temperature-wise. The harsh air has put a damper on the outdoor activities that brighten winter around here. It’s just not as much fun to go snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing or sledding when the temperatures are below zero.
It has been difficult for restaurants and stores, as well, with customers reluctant to venture out of their warm homes if they don’t need to. (We wonder if any restaurants that don’t normally deliver might want to consider doing so during an extended cold snap. It might be very profitable.)
The weather is putting a chill on the local economy.
And think about people who have to work outside. Coming immediately to mind are those who deliver the mail and newspapers. Police, firefighters, public-works crews and utility workers all have to do their work out in the elements. And let’s not forget farmers, who have obligations that require them to be outdoors numerous times during the day.
This week’s cold snap will continue — with just a brief warmup on Saturday — through at least next Monday.
The cold isn’t just uncomfortable; it is dangerous.
Here’s the AccuWeather description for what is happening this week: “The Northeast’s coast will have to endure an extended stretch of brisk and frigid winds in the wake of Tuesday’s snow. The magnitude of this cold blast is still dangerous enough to put residents who do not properly bundle up at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. Care should also be taken to ensure that livestock and other animals housed outdoors have adequate shelter.
“The cold may be intense enough to cause school closings, frozen pipes and water main breaks. Heating systems may struggle to keep up, people will spend more money keeping their homes and businesses warm, and ice will again build up on area rivers.”
People with well-built homes and good heating systems can weather the cold without damage to anything but their budgets. But not everyone is fortunate enough to live in those circumstances.
There are homes around here that the bitter winds easily penetrate. There are people who keep their heat turned low because they can’t afford their bills. There are residents who have broken windows patched with cardboard, who don’t have warm enough bedding, whose clothing is inadequate.
That is where our North Country bigheartedness needs to shine. If you have neighbors who may be struggling, please check on them. Bring warm food and blankets. Invite them to your home. Offer help.
If you don’t know anyone in need, your church or local outreach agency will. Give them a donation to pass on.
We are famous here for our fortitude. But for some people, that isn’t enough to beat the bitter cold.