A state of emergency was called earlier this week when temperatures dipped below seventy degrees, some unfortunate counties suffering temperatures hovering around the mid fifties. The state sprang into action, tapping into their rainy-day funds, dolling out millions for salt trucks, as a precaution to the ice or snow that may appear as temperatures continue to drop. Stores have closed locations, the demand for winter supplies unable to be met, canned goods and other provisions severely depleted.
School officials have announced emergency meetings, to discuss the arctic temperatures that could cause hypothermia to those walking to school or waiting at bus stops. Area schools have been temporarily closed until average temperatures start to rise or superintendents figure out how to handle this dire situation.
The economy has crashed- a direct result of a much lower number of snowbirds flocking to our once balmy shores. There has been a rise in cases of Floridians hospitalized due to the nature of their “thin blood”. There has been a sharp increase in weather-related accidents, the majority of them traffic accidents, as residents are unused to driving in frigid temperatures. Emigration rates are high, as many Floridians are moving to much warmer areas, such as Mexico.
Residents in the southern areas of Florida have taken to building reinforced homes or underground bunkers to get warm. Warmer home temperatures have elicited a cry of outrage from the general public- residents are not used to having to turn the heat on in their house, and are therefore not used to higher heat and electricity bills. Social outreach groups have organized “Safe Spaces” where freezing residents can huddle in groups of up to 100 to conserve and contain body heat.
Others still, are taking advantage of this colder weather and heading to local parks with newly purchased sleds, hoping for snow, and some have invested stock in winter gear, such as ice skates or woolen coats. Beaches are now dotted with sandmen, the Floridian’s version of a snowman, instead of the sand castles that once reigned supreme in the warmer months.
The governor recently released a statement on how Floridians could cope with the cold. In it, it was expressed that we should use caution when driving, and watch out for dangerous patches of black ice. It was also recommended that residents wear longer, heavier, and more durable clothes that are more likely to protect against the cold. School superintendents immediately seized this suggestion, and recent talk has been to enforce a state-wide uniform of woolen winter gear in public schools.
In the mean time, it’s best for residents to exercise caution when dealing with colder weather. We suggest investing on cold-weather coats, like the ones used by those climbing Mount Everest. Most importantly, stay tuned to weather reports, conserve heat, and stay warm, Steinbrenner.
Jillian Dradzynski // Opinion Editor