The National Weather Service has confirmed what local pessimists have long since feared: The cold snap that's gripped St. Louis isn't going away just yet.
Today's high is 21 degrees Fahrenheit; tomorrow's, just fifteen. Tomorrow could see a brutal low of five degrees below zero.And those are actual temperatures. Wind chill could drop to minus fifteen or twenty. We could also see more snow tomorrow and Friday.
In summary, ugh.
Let's face it: If we equated winter with perpetual discomfort, we would have moved to Chicago. Let those hearty souls in Milwaukee and Minnesota brace themselves for terrible wind chill and blinding ice; here in St. Louis, we're contractually obligated to experience no more than 4.5 consecutive days of freezing temps at any given stretch. The entire point of living this far south, and enduring those muggy St. Louis summers, is that we're virtually promised that any stretch of serious winter weather will last no more than a week.
Yet here we are.... more than eight days in, and we're literally freezing to death. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says there have been more than 40 water main breaks in St. Louis County alone. A malfunctioning electric boiler has left ArtLoft residents downtown suffering without sufficient heat, KMOV reports. And KTVI reports that a homeless man found in a dumpster in the St. Louis Place neighborhood of north city may have been killed by hypothermia.
Indeed, it's worth remembering that as cold as we may feel, it's unimaginably worse for those experiencing homelessness. The city has extended its winter shelter and outreach operations through Saturday, and individuals or families seeking shelter are being encouraged to contact the St. Louis Housing Helpline at 314-802-5444, United Way at 211 and the Biddle Housing Opportunities Center at 314- 612-1675.
Let's hope we can make it through the next four days without any more deaths. And let's give a moment of thanks that we're not about to get slammed with a "bomb cyclone." Yes, there are still reasons to be glad we live in St. Louis, even if when the wind chill is minus fifteen.
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