“There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.”
By Alex P. Vidal
AS I write this article, a major snow storm—the worst in five years—was barreling toward the northeast cities, including New York City and Boston, as reported by the National Weather Services (NWS).
When we are told that the storm is a “major” one it could turn into a blizzard, and that means it would produce a thick or abundant snowfall and will give us a “snow world.”
We had been warned two days earlier, thus we aren’t expected to go out until February 2 (Tuesday, U.S. time).
Appointments and other regular jigs and gimmicks will have to be cancelled altogether.
Snow storm in the middle of a pandemic means another self-imposed “solitary confinement” until everything is back to normal—when ice in the sidewalks starts to melt and won’t pose a threat to those who hit the road to beat the rush hours.
No big deal actually.
Nowadays when most of us are inside the house, we spend a big chunk of our free time in the Internet and rearranging some stuff.
There’s plenty of domestic chores to tackle, online games to play, books to read, and articles to write.
When the first drop of snow arrived at past four o’clock in the afternoon on January 31 (Sunday), I was rushing to my favorite Chinese restaurant, New Fu Fan & China, on Whitney Avenue in Elmhurst, Queens to secure a take-out order of fried half chicken (good for two days for one person).
I also dropped by the nearby Walgreens to secure a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
The NWS advised that “treacherous” travel conditions are expected throughout the northeast for a few days, as wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour are forecast for Monday, February 1, creating blinding, blowing snow.
It would be the first snow storm in 2021, a “long duration” major winter storm headed toward the U.S. coast; and we could be blanketed with nearly two feet (60.96 cm) of snow on February 1 (Monday, U.S. time).
Snow was expected to begin late Sunday night (January 31)across a wide swath of the northeast, with “in excess of 20 inches of snow in parts of eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, southern New York, and into southern New England,” the NWS said in bulletin.
The storm could paralyze New York City, which as of Sunday night was forecast to be at the center of the Nor’easter’s bluster, said meteorologist Brian Hurley, of the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.
“It’s a widespread area with 10 to 20 inches of snow coming,” Hurley said.
“The sweet spot looks like it will be right around New York City.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a Sunday press conference that schools would be closed on Monday and that officials are rescheduling appointments for coronavirus vaccinations.
“There’s going to be tremendous danger and difficulty getting around on Monday,” de Blasio warned. “The last thing we want to do is urge our seniors to come out in the middle of a storm like this.”
He added: “This storm is growing all the time. We’ve got a much more intense situation.”
The American Res Cross, meanwhile, has warned us to be cautious and “stay safe during a winter storm or blizzard” and to observe the following:
-Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers.
-Listen to a local station on battery-powered radio or television or to NOAA Weather Radio for updated emergency information.
-Bring our companion animals inside before the storm begins.
Move other animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water. Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration.
Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
-Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink liquids such as warm broth or juice. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia. Alcohol, such as brandy, is a depressant and hastens the effects of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration.
-Conserve fuel. Winter storms can last for several days, placing great demand on electric, gas, and other fuel distribution systems (fuel oil, propane, etc.). Lower the thermostat to 65° F (18° C) during the day and to 55° F (13° C) at night. Close off unused rooms, and stuff towels or rags in cracks under the doors. Cover the windows at night.
Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)