The Atlantic

Being Trapped Indoors Is the Worst

In extreme cold, people are lucky to have shelter. But staying cooped up for days can do strange things to your brain.
Source: mrs / Getty

In January 2011, I got iced into my parents’ house in suburban Atlanta for what felt like 15 years, but was actually one week. The metro area was paralyzed by a storm unprecedented in its recorded history: A rare heavy snow was immediately followed by a stretch of finger-numbing cold. The combination plunged the area into a cycle of modest daytime melts and overnight freezes that left millions of people stuck under a self-renewing sheet of ice for days.

Because of the region’s hilly terrain and very limited winter-weather infrastructure, not only was no one ever going

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