Friday, January 16, 2009

What does -23 deg C feel like?

What does sub 20 degrees Celcius weather feel? So far the lowest I had encountered while outdoors was a measly -10, so it was exciting to experience lower temperatures.

You feel like coughing after your first couple of breaths as you step outside; the lungs need a few seconds of cold air to adjust.

Whatever mucus you have in your nostrils hardens, as you inhale, you have to expand your nostrils by force to avoid the clumped feeling. It is similar to stretching your hand after leaving a layer of Fevicol for 5 minutes.

The clothes for temperatures no lower than -10 C will seem insufficient by the end of the 10 minute walk to the unviersity. One more set(after inner wear, shirt, winter jacket with hood, first pant and jeans, half-work style gloves and ear warmers) should do.

The ends of your fingers, though inside gloves, will feel as numb as a piece of wood, if not inside kept inside pockets.

Of course, there's usually snow around. All of it. Whatever came down will remain, unless on private or university-public property which will be cleared for people to use. Less used sidewalks will be fluffy and ankle deep for you to step in for a late morning workout. A couple of days later, the latter mentioned snow gets compacted - sometimes into ice - for a great free lesson in skating. Walking on a thin layer of snow is somewhat akin to walking on sand - a grinding effect - the sand/snow gets pushed back as you back.

What if you want to walk in even deeper snow? Like calf-deep? I love doing it - but there's only one problem. The boots I wear are upto my ankles, but in deeper snow, as I put my foot down, the jeans lift up - and as I bring my foot back up snow enters the shoe - resulting in a momentary cool feeling. If it weren't for this, I would be walking all the way in the snow.

Then there is wind chill - which is basically the effect of higher wind speed resulting in lower 'feels like' temperatures than the above mentioned air temperatures. So -23 deg C was the air temperature; wind chill, which is the temperature the skin feels it to be, must have been around -30 deg C.

Indoors, you cannot risk turning off heaters - or a higher temperature will have to be set on the thermostat - or left on for longer at lower levels - in spite of the blanket-comforter combo.

A beard(hard luck, ladies) is most welcome, if you ask me, to help in insulating my so-so handsome face, much to the chagrin of my dad.

Well, all this will be forgotten when I get to the lab-room and get easy in the 'room temperature'. New tourist destination to add to my wishlist: Minnesota/Canada in the dead of winter.

1 comment:

Vasu said...

nice post... well its been around -25 C here in the nights for a couple of days...all i would say is whatever happens dont forget to use moisturizer before you go out...u start getting cuts on ur hand even with some gloves on...