For some Floyd County residents, particularly newcomers, the winter of 2009-10 is harsh reality setting in about the downside of living in the mountains.

For others it is a reminder that this is more like how winters used to be around here.

Milder winters of the last few years brought on short memories. We forgot that winter in the hills can be brutal: snow, ice, numbing cold, frozen water pipes and treacherous driving conditions.

It’s been a while since the area got a large snow. Temperatures haven’t dipped below zero for five years. We still haven’t fallen below zero in actual temperatures but brutal cold, combined with gusting winds, produced wind chills that hit 10 degrees below and colder. That, along with prolonged cold and daytime highs that struggled to hit 20 degrees, have left an increasing number of county homes without water because of frozen pipes.

For some, the freeze is so severe that relief may not come until we get at least a week or more of temperatures above freezing. Daytime highs are expected to be in the 40s next week, which could provide some relief but some residents reporting broken pipes along with the freezing so they may get flooded basements and crawl spaces when the thaw comes.

John McEnhill, executive director of The Jacksonville Center, said the art complex’s pipes are frozen solid.

Some residents have also had trouble starting cars because of the week long string of single-digit low temperatures.

Welcome to life in the country.