by Scott Dreyer
An old saying goes, “You don’t miss the water till the well runs dry.”
In modern days that might be, “You don’t miss the electricity till you lose the lights. And heat. And hot water. And wifi. And TV. And microwave. And phone charger. And electric blanket, and The Roanoke Star….”
Around here, blackouts were common over Christmas weekend. Some lost power for a day or two, but one friend today told me her Roanoke Valley suburb lost juice Thursday night and didn’t get it back till Monday evening. Those extended power outages, combined with the brutal temperatures, high winds, and the fact that it was Christmas weekend, caused misery for many. The death toll nationwide from the storm is already 60, and might climb higher as more bodies are found.
One Roanoke insurance agent told me her office has been flooded (pardon the pun) with calls from policy holders reporting frozen pipes and now water damage.
At my home office, it was 6 degrees Saturday morning. Ironically, friends of ours were in upstate New York for Christmas, where it hit a low of 7, so it was colder here than there. A friend in southwest Roanoke County recorded 2 degrees. At Paint Bank, on the western edge of Craig County near the West Virginia line, it was -5.
Another feature of the storm was its magnitude. Last Friday, some 240 million people were under a weather warning or advisory; that was more than two-thirds of the entire U.S. population of 330 million. The map of wintry hazards “depicts one of the greatest extents of winter weather warnings and advisories ever,” the National Weather Service said. It was freezing in Atlanta and flurrying in Miami.
I would be remiss not to point out the incredible irony. Granted, one weather event–no matter how extreme–does not prove a trend. However, it’s remarkable how, after years of being warned the world is getting hotter and hotter, we just endured a storm that broke record lows in some places. In March 2000, the British newspaper Independent warned that, due to Global Warming, it was likely that in the near future English children would never see real snow.
The extreme cold should have showed us (again) the need to have affordable, reliable energy. Continue reading