By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Jan. 8, 2014
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – One of the coldest Arctic outbreaks in 20 years swept through many parts of America, bringing record-setting temperatures to the East, Midwest and South in the last few days. So far, at least 21 people have died because of the wicked weather.
It got so cold that even parts of Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River turned to ice.
The more than 36-hour stretch of sub-zero temperatures has left many kababayans stranded in their homes.
Connie Macatula-De Leon took pictures of her patio, bushes and driveway — all covered in snow. She said the only way to survive — is to stay indoors.
“In a matter of seconds, you can die, either of hypothermia or frostbite,” she said, in a Skype interview with Balitang America.
It doesn’t matter that she’s expecting to pay at least $500 this month for her heating bill, just as long as she can keep her family safe and warm. She shared, “We set the heat at 68%, nonstop, for the whole day. Can you imagine, outside — it’s negative 50 degrees.”
De Leon’s friend, Cathy Junia, lives 40 minutes away in the Windy City of Chicago. Junia also took photos of her snow-covered Wicker Park neighborhood. “I don’t know what real frostbite feels like but it almost felt like my fingers were going to fall off yesterday.”
Her parents from the Philippines are here on vacation. And what used to be winter wonderland for them — has become unbearably cold…they’re now stuck in her apartment for days. But she said, she feels fortunate they can stay indoors. She said her heart goes out to those who have no choice but to work outside, like utility workers, and the homeless who have to live on the streets.
She expressed, “Just walking past them and seeing them, you wonder how people can survive the cold. It’s so painful to be outside even for a moment.”
These kababayans said while they do miss living in the Philippines, snowstorms have become part of their lives in America. And like the resilient Filipinos that they are, they said, they will continue to brave the weather.
You may contact Henni Espinosa at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.