When I was researching colleges as a high school senior living in the Philippines (where I was born and raised), I looked only at “warm weather” states. I’d never seen snow and had no interest in seeing it. I selected a college in Florida, which calls itself the “Sunshine State.” And, the college was in a part of the state called “The Suncoast.”
I don’t mind the sun. In the Philippines, I’d play basketball outdoors all afternoon. Now that I’m a senior, I’m not too fond of heat but I dislike cold even more. Before coming to the U.S., the coldest weather I experienced was in Baguio, a mountain city where folks visited in summer to get away from the heat of the Manila “lowlands.” In winter, Baguio might drop to the mid-50’s at night.
So you can imagine my dislike of the “big chill” which affected even Florida last Tuesday and Wednesday. Thank goodness I’m retired and didn’t have to get up to go to work! When I finally did get up Tuesday at 9:30, it was 23F outside. Maybe not the absolute coldest it’s ever been since I moved to Tallahassee in 1981, but certainly a contender.
In this part of the country, where keeping cool is more of an issue than staying warm, we have heat pumps. They are very effective and efficient at pumping heat out of the house and leaving cool air. But heat pumps don’t do as well when the temperature is in the forties or below. At those temperatures, the pump switches to more expensive “auxiliary heat” until there is enough warm air in the house to “pump” out the cold air and leave the warmer air.
After we bought the house, we had the City-owned utility do an energy efficiency analysis. To weatherize the house, the City paid 80% of the cost of putting additional insulation in the attic for maximum benefit. After that, I noticed that the internal temperature did not fluctuate as much as before. Recently, the City came out and insulated both exterior doors at no charge.
Even then, when I got up Tuesday morning, the temperature in the house, which I can’t recall dropping below about 61, was 59. It probably would have been lower if the exterior doors hadn’t been insulated. So when I turned on the heat pump, it was no surprise that the “auxiliary heat” came on and stayed on for awhile.
When cold fronts come through here, the temperature normally warms up to at least the 40’s during the day. But this cold front was not normal…
By 11, the temperature had only risen to 27. At 12:30, it was 29. At 1:30, it was 30 and even at 3:00, it was only 32. It had never been freezing for so many hours! (Thank goodness I don’t live in one of the “great white north” states where temperatures were below zero.)
A high school friend of mine is in Manila until May. I checked the temperature there at 2:30 and it was 76. And Manila is 12 hours ahead so that was the temperature at 2:30 in the morning. I checked Baguio’s temperature and it was 59. I checked the temperature in Detroit, where he lives if not in Manila, and it was 0, with a wind chill of -10. (I like his lifestyle: in the U.S. when the temperature is pleasant and in Manila when its temperature is pleasant.)
For New Year’s, my friend had stayed at the beach house of a friend in Nasugbu, south of Manila . When I was in high school, Nasugbu was (and still is) a popular beach area. There are numerous coves with small beaches accessible only by boat.
Now, the hills above these coves have been developed and many homes have magnificent ocean views. During the big chill, I thought about how nice it would be sipping a fine locally-brewed San Miguel beer in Nasugbu.
Wednesday was a bit better. Only 30 at 9:30 and by 3:00 it had warmed up to a tolerable 52. And on Thursday, it was already 50 at 9 and was in the mid-60’s by 3 PM. Friday was a gray day and drizzling off and on all day but it got into the low 70’s. Saturday was also in the low 70’s but with lots of rain.
I’d rather be in Nasugbu… I think a lot of folks would too!