Our View: Baby, it’s getting really cold outside


Friday, December 29, 2017

While we might have gotten away with short-sleeved shirts and shorts as we opened presents earlier this week, those days seem like a distant memory. Compared to our friends a few states north of us, we have little to complain about in terms of frightful weather. Even still, the cold snap we have been hearing about has arrived in our neck of the woods. Forecasts show we will be getting down into the teens each night next week, with potential for some snow sometime midweek. 

A little snow can be a lot of fun, but the sudden drop in temperature also has our eyes on the utilities bill.

If you are wanting to stay warm on a budget, cranking up the thermostat does not sound like a great way to kick off a new year. Luckily, a few tips to stay toasty are right at our fingertips. From the U.S. Department of Energy, one practical home-warming strategy is as simple as reversing the direction of your fan. 

Getting the fan to spin clockwise will push warm air downward and recirculate it through the room. Energy officials advise residents to turn the fan on its lowest setting to get the air circulating.

The N.C. Department of Public Safety recommends dressing in layers and wearing hats. It’s much easier to warm yourself up first than it is to warm up a whole room. Also, most of our body heat is lost through the top of the head, public safety officials say.

Another neat tip is to crank up the oven and do some baking. Getting the oven to pull double duty can help warm up a home and a few bellies.

State and federal authorities also are stepping up as  temperatures across half the country continue to plunge.

Even before the cold snap, energy officials projected that heating costs were going to track upward this winter.

 President Donald Trump in response released nearly $3 billion, or roughly 90 percent, of the funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program recipients after previously trying to eliminate the program. Those funds will undoubtedly save lives, and we are glad to hear Trump reversed course.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper signed an emergency declaration to allow heating fuel to be more easily distributed during the cold snap. Cooper’s executive order loosens restrictions on drivers transporting heating fuels such as propane. It also puts in extra measures to prevent price gouging.

As we worry about staying warm, the last thing we want to deal with is unscrupulous opportunists. 

It’s great to see our leaders working to help those in need. Now that winter isfinally here, that extra aid couldn’t have come at a better time.