Psychiatric Views on the Daily News - Episode 54

Follow-Up on Milwaukee Windstorm Today

A change in the wind…

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

“Let there be light!” It is 7 AM and I pace the house, waiting for the sun to come up. The power is still off. The temperature is falling, down to 44 °F. My wife is sleeping, probably because she was up most of the night. The wind is still howling, but no rain or snow. No cars or people; feels apocalyptic, but that is probably a psychological overreaction. Maybe I have been overreacting to this climate change all along, but I doubt it. Maybe the contrary, actually.

Soon, I can see the sky lightening. Pinkish clouds are racing across the sky, west to east. Beautiful, but unusual and ominous. I survey our yard and our block. Only small branches and small sculptures have fallen on the ground, but I see our large steel, latticed arch linking our driveway to our walkway. It was planted into the ground with steel rods, but nonetheless it was uprooted and lies sideways on the ground. It would be a lethal weapon if it hit anyone. Maybe the trees are doing okay because they have no leaves to catch the wind.

It is 9 AM and still no power and no information from the power company. The latter is scarier and unusual. What if there was even a more frightening weather event?

On my i-Pad, I find that nearby Chicago is hit with toppled trees and 75 mph winds. Yesterday, in Colorado it was worse; 100 mph winds, cancelled flights, semi-trucks tipped over, and thousands upon thousands without power. They call this a Bora event, when a strong cold air induction and a fast-moving low pressure meet. I am learning more about the weather than I care to. Given the dryness, it was like “old Dust Bowl days had returned.” Hopefully, no deaths anywhere.

We hear from friends that further away from us they have power. Good for them, I think, but then the human survival mode kicks in: What about me? One friend reports having a dream last night of a rocket in the sky coming toward him and awakening to no power. Another offers their house to stay, but I should not be around other people. Another recommends buying a generator for the future.

It is 12 PM. The temperature outside has dropped to 34 °F, but it is still 68 °F inside. The winds are dying down. My i-Pad is 50% charged. We finally get an update. About 80,000 have had their power restored, but many may not get it until the weekend.

Are you experiencing strange weather? Tell us about it PTEditor@MMHGroup.com.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.