Below were the forecast “Feels Like” Temperatures for a cold January morning. Keep in mind that the “feels like” temperature takes into account the cold temperatures, blustery winds, as well as the dry moisture content of the air.
To quote a mentor of mine: “OOF. Brutal.”
To be honest, I can’t even fathom what that kind of cold feels like. I may be a “weather nerd”, but I do have my limits — anything below 55 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold in my book!
But still, it is unrealistic to completely hibernate throughout the entire winter. Consider this: School children often have to wait outside at the bus stop during frigid mornings. Postal service workers still deliver the mail in these temperatures. Construction crews are not going to stop production on roads or buildings just because it’s cold outside. So I posed this question to you (and feel free to join the conversation!): How do you stay warm when it is brutally cold outside?
Dress In Layers
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) states that as many as 1300 people die every year from hypothermia, most likely during the winter time. When out and about, it is important to dress in layers. This includes:
- Loose, lightweight clothing in layers
- Waterproof, windproof garments whenever heavy rain or snow is present
- Cover extremities: Gloves for hands; as many as two pairs of socks for feet. Use a face shield to protect your lips, nose and ears
- Wear a hat: This prevents heat from escaping out the top of your head
A friend of mine says her Minnesota pals taught her the following “3 layer method”:
1.) Poly/synthetic blends; something that wicks
2.) Wool or fleece; traps heat
3.) Nylon blends; something that blocks wind and water
I am going to try that method the next time I have to venture outside!
Stay Indoors, but Monitor Cold-Sensitive Individuals
It makes sense to stay indoors when it is literally too cold to go outside. But keep in mind that some individuals are particularly susceptible to cold-related illnesses. For example, those with a medical condition (like diabetes) may not be able to tell when they have lost too much body heat and are actually experiencing hypothermia (which is a dangerous situation in which the body is losing more heat than it can produce, and it can lead to death). Elderly individuals and young children — including infants — are susceptible to hypothermia, even indoors. Make sure the household thermostat is running and indoor temperatures are at least 68 degrees.
Be Careful With Space Heaters
Appliances like electric blankets and space heaters can make the difference between a miserable winter and an enjoyable season. But keep in mind that electric blankets and space heaters can cause fires due to faulty wiring or if they are placed near flammable objects; they can also cause burns if they are used near areas of metal or objects that heat up quickly. I personally love using my electric blanket in the winter, but I keep an eye on the settings and try to use the lowest amount of heat possible; I also double check the wires after every wash to make sure that there are no exposed cords or electrical elements.
Be WeatherReady This Winter: Have an Emergency Kit
Even when ice and snow are not in the forecast, it is still important to be ready, no matter the weather. Keep an extra set of the following at the office as well as in the car in case the power goes out during the extreme cold:
- Pants (in case the pair you are wearing happens to get wet)
- Extra socks
- Comfortable walking shoes (in case you need to walk somewhere — many people stuck in snowstorms throughout the South these past few years wound up walking miles in their office shoes/high heels)
- High calorie snacks like energy bars, nuts, etc
- Extra bottles of water
- Flashlights with batteries
- NOAA Weather Radio (preferably one that hand cranks)