The weather

Yes, I am blogging about the weather.

That’s because it’s really, really cold here this week!

As I type this, it’s -24F / -31C in Farmington, MN, where my work is located. That’s not counting the wind chill. The National Weather Service is reminding people that exposed skin will start to freeze in five minutes under these conditions. So here’s a few reminders for folks who live here. (Those of you in other parts of the world can shudder in horror.)

1. Layers. Wear lots of layers. They should not be super-tight, since the thing that keeps you warm are the pockets of air between the layers and in the fabric. Couple pair of socks, if they fit inside your boots. Balaclava if you have one, neckwarmer or hat-scarf. Gloves under your mittens. Long underwear.

2. Keep your car full of gas. Fuel lines and fuel pumps freeze in this weather. If they are full of fuel, that gas remains liquid at lower temperatures and hence will not freeze.

3. Do not touch anything outside with wet hands. Or, for pity’s sake, with your tongue. The thin layer of sweat or water on your hands flash-freezes to the very cold object. If this happens, do not yank your body part free. Get someone to bring warm tap water and pour it over the frozen parts, thawing the ice momentarily.

4. When outside, try to avoid exertion that makes you sweat. Sweat will make you cold. Shovel slowly, walk steadily.

Good luck!

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks, Sigrid, I’ve learned the hard way that having too little gas in the car is a bad idea.

  2. One of my most vivid memories as a kid (in upstate NY’s blizzard country) is walking to school, and even with mittens my hands were completely frozen – I was terrified by the time I arrived and my teacher had to do the warm water thing for a few minutes until I recovered. Cold can be some scary stuff.

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