Thursday, February 3, 2011

-21º! WTF??!

I'm planning to go to New Mexico this weekend if I feel up to it (have been feeling much better this week, thankfully), so this morning I checked the weather to see what driving conditions would be like for the trip and to see what kind of weather there would be while I was there.

-21º at our place this morning! I can't even imagine a temperature like that. And I've spent some winters in some pretty cold places like Upstate New York and Anchorage, AK. Nothing even close to a temperature like that, ever, occurred at any of them. The coldest I've experienced in NM is 13º, which is cold, certainly, but survivable. And in AK and NY temperatures in the teens and twenties were common, only once down to 3º in Anchorage and 0º once in Rochester. But apparently it's been this cold in NM for days. Only supposed to warm up -- a little -- beginning on the weekend, then get into more normal territory next week. Ie: 30's and 40's.

I expect the pipes will be frozen. They're plastic, the kind that's not supposed to break when it freezes, but I don't know whether they can withstand such low temperatures.

It occurred to me that the electric co-op isn't all that reliable, outages being frequent and all, sometimes all day, and I got to thinking that if the electricity went out when the temps were that low, we'd freeze. The main heater is gas, but without electricity, it won't work. Thermostats and all, fans, that sort of thing. The kitchen stove is gas, but it requires electricity to function as well, though it might be possible to light it with a match in a pinch. Never tried. There are electric space heaters in some of the rooms, and of course if the power is out, no heat. There is no fireplace. There was a wood stove, possibly two, at one time, the holes for the chimney pipes are still visible in the attic. But they were taken out long ago when a gas heater was installed probably in the late 30's or early 40's. It, at least, could be lit with a match. The new one we had installed can't.

So I'm thinking about alternatives.

Supplementary wood stoves? Kiva fireplaces in every room?

Of course practically everyone around us has their own generator, just in case.

I know other parts of the country have been facing fierce cold and intense blizzards pretty much all winter, but this is very unusual for New Mexico. I'm completely unused to such bitter cold, being mostly a California Boy (you should see me during a tornado warning! Even though we have them in CA, more and more lately, we never get warnings, per se. Unlike the Midwest...)

Must learn some new coping skills I guess...

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