Bitter cold demands vigilance, caring

January 23, 2014

The bitter cold and snowfall quieting Delaware’s Cape Region this week deserve special attention.

Here in coastal Delaware, the vast ocean to our east makes our microclimate even more temperate than surrounding areas.

Certainly we’re not Florida, but the Atlantic does keep us a few degrees warmer, giving us a longer growing season and generally milder winters.

Then along comes a cold snap like this one that reminds us of the winter of 1977 and 1978, when Rehoboth Bay and the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal froze solid, river pilots had to contract helicopters to get on and off ships, and hiber­nating blue crabs froze to death in the mud at the bottom of Delaware Bay.

Local firefighters had to not only fight flames in houses where the cold stressed heating and electrical systems, but also freez­ing water that made footing treacherous and handling hoses grueling.

Now, 2014. While state and municipal work­ers have done a great job keeping the roads and streets plowed so we can keep function­ing as a community, we have to again stay vigilant against the stresses that such extreme weather brings. State and municipal agencies, police and fire services can only do so much.

Now, especially, they depend on all of us to do the right thing.

We see examples all around us: neighbors digging out those less able, four-wheelers using tow lines usually reserved for beach emergencies to haul out ditch-bound drivers, and churches and others opening their doors to the homeless trying to survive single-digit nights.

Delaware’s Cape Region is just one of thou­sands of communities across this great nation that shows its compassion when times are tough and people need help. The difference is that we’re the ones experiencing the extreme weather this time.

Although extreme cold isn’t as loud and dramatic as blowing blizzards or howling hurricanes, it nonetheless brings challenges and opportunities to help friends and strang­ers alike, and further strengthen the ties that bind us.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

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