Up in my hometown in Wisconsin tonight a Wind Chill Warning is in effect, with values as low as -45 to -55 Fahrenheit expected. Thousands of miles to the south, in Melrose, FL where I am spending my first night at the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station (OSBS from now on, because I really don’t want to keep typing that out), the same red angry Wind Chill Warning banner parades across the weather screen. The expected lowest wind chill value here? 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Northerners would look at a wind chill factor of 5 to 10 and scoff and call that child’s play. Florida’s hard freeze has nothing on the cold winters of Wisconsin.
I feel for Florida residents though, even though I myself (and Cas) can handle below freezing temps for 12 hours with a low of 22 just fine, because in my mind it’s not just the absolute numbers that matter but the relativity. True, Wisconsin Rapids doesn’t see -20 often, it’s been several years since they’ve had a night this cold.
But for this part of Florida, it’s been more like 20. The houses down here don’t have much insulation. Their pipes aren’t protected, and their vegetation is much more sensitive to cold. I wonder if people down here even own winter jackets, I kind of doubt it. While the absolute value is much warmer in Florida vs. Wisconsin, Florida is less prepared for the kind of weather they’re experiencing tonight, relatively speaking.
I got into a traffic accident this morning on my way down here. No one was hurt.
I hesitated to even mention it here until the whole thing is over, because I’m now expecting to receive a flood of questions, opinions, information, and personal experiences regarding all things traffic accident related and I’m not sure I want that.
It’s too early to give all the details but let me assure everyone that it was minor, just a fender bender. I rear ended a car at low speed while coming to a stop at a traffic light. You’d have to look twice at Bertha to see any damage at all. Cas is fine. The other car is going to need a new bumper, but otherwise looked fine.
The driver and sole occupant of the car was very calm and understanding, almost friendly even. It’s a shame we couldn’t have met under better circumstances, I hope the rest of her trip to Savannah went better. Likewise the officer who handled it was fair and personable enough. The ticket I got for “driving too fast for conditions” is small, less than the one I got for speeding last year, less than the cumulative cost to fix the things that broke on the trip form Texas to South Carolina to put it in perspective.
It’s going to be a hassle, dealing with the insurance company about costs and damages, knowing that my rate will probably go up next time it’s up for renewal and I might be better served shopping around for new insurance. I was a good two hours late showing up at OSBS and didn’t get to do everything I’d wanted to. Today wasn’t my best day. But on the scale for possible accidents, this rates as easy, relatively speaking. I count myself as fortunate as it could have been much worse.
See? This does tie in with the first half of the post. It’s all relative.
Image courtesy of William Warby
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