While many areas of the country are seeing relatively mild winters this year, some cities and towns aren't as lucky. (As I write this, I'm looking at rain that could very easily be feet of snow in another winter). But, while some of us are basking in the ability to walk around glove-free, this unusual warm spell isn't reaching areas as far north as Sitka, Alaska, where the state's fourth largest city is setting records for energy use.
According to a report by The Associated Press that was passed on to me by a reader, the single-digit temperatures in Sitka led to a record demand for electricity on January 24. The city's electricity department recorded a total of 24 megawatts on that day, which broke a previous record set in 2005.
Some estimates indicate that windchills have brought the temperature below zero in areas of the city. This may be unwelcome to local residents, who generally enjoy a low of around 32 degrees Fahrenheit this time of year, weather experts say.
However, the big concern for many law enforcement officials isn't the fact that residents have their manual thermostats set high, it's that essential services may be affected by the cold.
"Usually they freeze up during a cold spell and next week, when they start thawing, is generally when we see most of the pipe problems," Sitka's fire chief Dave Miller told KCAW, a community radio station in the area.
Even though weather experts suggest the city is going to see some relief this weekend, the blistering cold the city is experiencing is a reminder of how having a trusty thermostat can make a huge difference. As such, residents who expect the temperature to cool off where they reside may want to take steps in the coming days to make sure this product is functioning to its fullest ability.