Living in a Hot Climate or Cold. Which is Better?
I have heard some say living in the north is better than the south. These folks would rather endure cold than hot. Others will say that living in the south where it is hot is more desirable than the north. So which is better?
Having lived in various different areas in my life, I do have a definite preference between hot or cold, but I will save that for last and try first to give the reader some pros and cons of both climates. I will say that there are definite advantages (and disadvantages) to both.
Summer in the South
First let’s talk about summer in the south. I have spent many years living in southern Alabama. The temperature can get over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day in summertime. It can get so hot that I can remember stepping out of my comfortably air conditioned house and having sweat forming on my forehead before I could get the door locked behind me. Going shopping in town means your car will probably not get completely cool inside during the time it takes to drive from one store to the next, and will feel like an oven inside when you first get in. Wildlife includes snakes and fireants. These can be dangerous if one is not careful. Gardening can require a lot of watering but one must be careful not to water in the hot part of the day or the water will evaporate before it soaks in and will leave the plants “thirsty” even though the sprinkler has been running. An advantage of the south is that the gardening season is much longer than in the north.
Living a few years in Wisconsin has given me a chance to experience milder summers. It can get hot but rarely reaches the temperatures that are experienced in the south. According to the Wisconsin State Climatology Office, the last time the temperature in that state exceeded 100 degrees was in August of 1988. Air conditioning is still widely used but not for as long during the year as in the south. There are many days during the spring and fall when it is not necessary to use air conditioning at all.
The winters in Wisconsin, however, can be quite miserable. The temperature can drop to well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind blows frequently. One must “bundle up” when going outside and it can be difficult to do much with the hands when wearing heavy gloves or mittens. Even the simplest tasks such as retrieving car keys from a pocket and unlocking a door can be difficult. The snow gets deep and can make the roads treacherous. If that isn’t bad enough, when the snow melts a little and then re-freezes into ice it can make the roads even more dangerous. To combat the slippery road conditions, salt is spread on the roads which causes the snow and ice to melt. This salt reacts well with the steel of an automobile and causes it to rust very quickly. For this reason, automatic carwashes are a big money maker in this type of climate. It can cost up to 10 dollars at the time of this writing to get a car washed only to have it covered in salt again by the time it gets home.
Winter Survival Kits Required
Survival kits for each automobile are a must in a cold climate. Food, water, candles (or other source of heat), dry clothes, blankets, and the list goes on, are needed if one is to survive a breakdown or sliding off the road in a snowstorm. Heat can kill, but cold kills much faster and without a way to keep warm in an emergency one might not be able to reach help before freezing.
Fun in the Snow
There is plenty of opportunity for cold weather recreation. Skiing, ice fishing, sledding and snow-mobile riding are a few of the popular activities in the north. Kids always enjoy building snowmen, however, most of the time the temperature in Wisconsin is so cold that the snow won’t stick together to make snowballs.
Winters in Alabama
Winters in the south are far more tolerable. It can get below freezing in southern Alabama but rarely gets below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. It snows very little and when it does snow, it only lasts for a few hours before it melts. For this reason, salt is not required to keep the roads clear and cars last a lot longer. One needs to dress warmly in winter but the extreme measure are not required for survival. A good coat, hat and reasonable gloves should keep you warm enough when outside in the southern winter.
Having lived in both climates, I have concluded that I would rather live in the south than the north. All it takes to be able to function just fine in the heat is to drink plenty of water. A nice air conditioner to cool off under when I am finished working outside is a definite plus. I don’t care for the cold. I find it difficult to work with my hands when they are covered in heavy mittens and I loathe shoveling snow. Slipping on the ice and falling down is not something I care to do either. I will admit, however, that it is enjoyable to sit by a nice warm fire and watch the snow falling outside as long as I don’t have to go outside.
Both climates have their share of pleasures and dangers. If you are considering a climate change and the extreme temperatures concern you remember that over time the body will adjust and the cold or hot won’t seem so uncomfortable. No matter which climate you live in, be prepared. Take necessary precautions, and you will find that you can function in, and perhaps even enjoy, your surroundings.