When I made the decision to enroll at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago to pursue my master's degree, friends and family expressed their support but also cautioned me about the city's reputation for severe weather. Last year was not very different from any of the previous years. But trust me when I say this, no matter how many warnings you receive and how much you brace yourself, you will not be ready for such weather conditions.
I come from an extremely hot and warm place like Chennai, India, where the weather conditions are such that the coldest month has a temperature of 60-65°F and the hottest months have a temperature above 100°F. My first few months of fall 2022 were so pleasant with just high winds as usual but extremely bearable weather.
As months passed by the weather started to become unpleasant and then came the Fall Break. The snow showers started to become consistent but still bearable if you had the right protective gear on. But I still remember the day the snowstorm changed my entire perspective of the weather in Chicago. On December 22 I experienced the first snowstorm ever in my life.
The first thing that I noticed was how strong and cold the wind was and that despite wearing gloves, a snow jacket, and a face mask my body almost gave up when I went outside. I know it is important to stay inside your house when facing such adverse weather conditions but it is very hard to be stuck in a room for a whole month and I felt I needed some fresh air. Over the next couple of days, the snow came in thick and heavy, and it covered both the driveway and sidewalks, or at least that was the case where I live. On top of this, the people in my apartment and I were facing a water shortage! The pipes that supply water were frozen by such extremely cold weather that some of them even burst! Some of my friends who live in different apartments were facing a lack of hot water supply and a lack of power supply.
In my opinion, the best thing you can do is to be extra prepared to avoid such situations in the future, by preparing a crisis kit. Try to stack your house with as many essential supplies as possible, like food items that will fill your appetite and will require fewer ingredients as possible, buy all the protective gear as early as possible as there may be an emergency that requires you to travel outside in such weather conditions and from my personal experience trying to stack up on water bottles and paper towels prior when they announce about these adverse conditions on news channels. My personal advice would be that as much as you prepare yourself for such weather conditions you still must experience them once in your life as they give you valuable exposure that will help you throughout your life.