Open Thread: How Cold *Is* It?…

Objectively, here north of Boston at least, not really so bad for mid-January. But it’s been so AGW-induced not-cold so far this winter that the dogs aren’t lingering when they go out in the back yard… and when I carry the 17-year-old down the steps, neither do I.

Mostly it’s the dreaded wind chill:

Meanwhile, in Tallahasee:

72 replies
  1. 1

    Typo in title?

    I broke out the real long johns and mitten-flap gloves today but it’s not thaaat bad in nyc (my friend visiting from sf who just took a cab to avoid a twelve-minute walk disagrees).

  2. 2
    Another Scott says:

    Interesting typo in the title. ;-)


  3. 3
    VeniceRiley says:

    Here in SoCal, I’ve worn a sweater for two whole weeks!

  4. 4

    Oh, and cnn informs me that our pal Tulsi is running.

  5. 5
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    How Could Is It?

    I dunno. Might could. Maybe could. Could be.

  6. 6
    Eric U. says:

    I rode my bicycle 100 km yesterday, it was cold but the 20-30mph winds were the worst part. I wanted to do it again tomorrow, but I have a project that I need to finish or I’m going to be in trouble, so staying home.

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Heh, I just commented on that news in Betty’s dying thread downstairs.

  8. 8
    Amir Khalid says:

    Other than one January morning in Boston 25 years ago, I have no memory of winter.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    debbie says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    When I lived in Boston, I had to cross the B.U. Bridge to get from Cambridge to B.U. for work. That walk was especially bracing because the dress code required skirts.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Major Major Major Major: The 2020 Democratic field is now 1% complete.

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It was quite chilly yesterday. Today not so much, but the weekend is suppose to be cold. Even though you are not in her district call Lucy McBath’s office on Monday and thank her for supporting background checks and for her stand on the wall. My local nextdoor had activity that concerned me. Lucy McBeth’s number is 202-225-4501 I just want the office to get nice calls.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Shana says:

    The first winter my older daughter spent in Chicago for college, after spending most of her life in the DC area, she called me as she was crossing the Midway, an open area running west from Lake Michigan, to complain that one of her eyelids was frozen shut and wanting to know why we hadn’t told her how cold it gets in Chicago. We had of course but if you haven’t experienced it you really have no idea.

  15. 15
    Ruckus says:

    You guys. I’ve ridden my motorcycle to work in 19 deg. No not in socal.
    I don’t think it’s ever got that cold here, up in the mtns maybe, but not down where most people live. Monday the temp in downtown LA was 34. I rode to work on Tuesday, it was 37.

  16. 16
    namekarB says:

    From the Cremation of Sam Mcgee by Robert Service (a poem from Alaska)

    On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
    Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
    If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
    It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

  17. 17
    Nelle says:

    When we lived in Fairbanks, my daughter’s preschool had a cutoff of minus 20F. At minus 19, they were out (in total gear, including face masks…the little ones looked like cubes of down and padding). They weren’t out long but every day, twice a day, out the went. Until we had a longish spell around minus 30 and minus 40.

  18. 18
    gratuitous says:

    Yep, we might not even hit 50 today in Portland. Brrrrr!

    Heh, heh, heh.

  19. 19
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @Amir Khalid: I spent eight horrible winters in Boston and it never crossed my mind to buy a car because I had gotten used to living in cities with excellent public transportation. I would walk forty minutes to work each day in a long winter coat, wool scarf, a hat that covered my ears and hands in leather gloves followed by suede mitts. Oh and I learned to love long johns. Fashion was not a consideration for this Naija. I was nice and toasty by the time I got to work except for the icicles forming in my eyelashes. When I first moved to Southern California, I thought people were insane when they broke out their winter gear in what was now t-shirt weather for me. X years later, I’m breaking out winter gear in SoCal too ;-). And I gave in and bought a car (a hybrid but still a gas-sipping car).

  20. 20
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    It is creeping on nosehairs-freezing-like-in-Chicago-cold and as any Midwesterner knows it is all about WINDCHILL

    As any true midwesterner knows, windchill is bullshit, something we tell Floridians so they can justify wearing 7 layers while the we are running around in a t-shirt and shorts and laugh at them.

  21. 21
    debbie says:


    Bet it took forever to get them bundled up and then unbundled after those few minutes outside!

  22. 22
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @JPL: Will do! Have called Isakson’s and Perdue’s offices to urge them to have a word with their Leader. Did not mention Delta as one of the state’s biggest employers, but I imagine both Senators would listen to what Delta has to say about air traffic controllers and TSA screeners either furloughed or working without pay.

  23. 23
    Chris Johnson says:

    Remember global warming adds energy to a giant chaotic system. When the chaotic system is fed energy, it throws out crazier extremes, ‘1000 year’ unprecedenteds all over the place, and that becomes the new normal.

    That includes cold. Cold is a kind of extreme you can have. Get used to insane scary cold snaps because those too become the new normal.

    On the bright side, they won’t stick around as long. Because chaos is less predictable and less prone to linger. But you could freeze pretty good waiting for unseasonal warmth.

  24. 24
    eemom says:

    … a witch’s t it in a brass bra. Anyone else ever hear that savory old saw?

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Using local corps is a good idea. I am going to call Monday and mention it’s time for Mitch to vote up or down on the house bills because in the olden days that is how it worked.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Major Major Major Major: @Another Scott: @SiubhanDuinne: Could’ve been worse, the typo could have been “Open Threat:”.

  27. 27

    @Another Scott: I was wondering if it was a Trump quote?

  28. 28
    Salty Sam says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My eldest son has friends from Canada who come down to visit him in Austin TX- they were down last summer in the blast-furnace-heat of August. When they wanted to go out to shoot photos (they’re profesh photogs), my son warned them, “Hey, the heat index is up to 115° F today.” Blank looks as response. He went on to explain what “Heat Index” was; they looked at each other and exclaimed, “OMFG! It’s WIND CHILL in REVERSE!!”

  29. 29

    @Felanius Kootea: Under 70, time to break out the winter clothes.

  30. 30
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Actually not too bad in Chicago right now.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    joel hanes says:


    true dat

    I had an evening paper route in North Iowa 1964 to 1967.
    One of those Januaries it went to ten below F, and then varied between ten and thirty-two below, still-air temperature, for the next twenty days, and I carried that route every one of of those days. The fiery sensation of circulation returning to almost-frozen eartips became quite familiar (I was a stupid kid, stocking caps were not stylish, the cook kidz wore “ski bands” which are better than nothing.)

    You get used to it. We did a lot of moonlight ice-skating that year, and listened to the three-foot thick ice on the little lake boom and zing and crack like a rifle from expansion stress. Over at the big lake, the expanding ice pushed up on the beaches and against the shores in wide six-foot-tall crumple zones. We still had a milkman who delivered, and often the milk inside the screen door would be half-frozen when retrieved at 6:30 AM.

  33. 33
    tybee says:

    ’twas frost this morn on the roofs of some cars downtown. cold enough for me. anything below 60 is cold enough for me.

  34. 34

    Coldest I have ever been was in Quebec City in December! Brrr. I thought living in Maine would prepare me for winter in Canada, boy was I wrong.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

  36. 36
    Josie says:


    Imagine the pain my son experienced during his first winter at Northwestern, north of Chicago. He was raised in deep South Texas and had no clue what winter was. I went to visit him in January, and I have never been so cold before or since. The wind off of the lake was excruciating.

  37. 37
    Nelle says:

    @debbie: one of my daughter’s earliest memories is of sweltering while one boy refused to put on his cap. The other kids were very angry with him

  38. 38
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Gin & Tonic: JUST below freezing – who’s up for some alcohol and night swimming?

  39. 39

    @Chris Johnson:

    When the chaotic system is fed energy, it throws out crazier extremes, ‘1000 year’ unprecedenteds all over the place, and that becomes the new normal.

    So you toss out word salad not just about econ. Good to know.

  40. 40
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: I used to date her.

  41. 41
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @JPL: I’m in her district, but just ignore me….

  42. 42
    Shana says:

    @eemom: not the last part.

  43. 43
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I called to remind them that an air travel crisis would impact the Cincinnati meet up next week, so hopefully they are ending the shutdown forthwith. Or they will be dealing with Bella Q and Ohio Mom and a bunch of other angry CVGers!

  44. 44
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    You’re the guy I saw her with. Good to know.

  45. 45
    Jharp says:

    I once visited Duluth Minnesota in late January when it was 16 degrees below zero without the wind chill.

    I remember talking with local who told me if it gets much colder anti freeze gels.

    Oh, I drove across Illinois and the wilderness of Wisconsin to get there and actually was quite concerned about my safety.

    Never again.

  46. 46
    Shana says:

    @Josie: yeah after 26 years in the Mid-Atlantic I’ve become unacclimated to Chicago winters after spending my life there. I feel for you.

  47. 47
    tybee says:

    @Adam L Silverman: it’s not the heat, it’s the humanity.

  48. 48
    Ruckus says:

    65 is shorts and tee shirt weather. 70 is for sweating in same.

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @tybee: I thought Cole was the manatee.

  50. 50
    Citizen Scientist says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Hopefully she and Wilmer will take eachother out.

  51. 51
    chris says:

    @eemom: Naughty! Around here we say that it’s colder’n a welldigger’s ass, adding “in a windstorm” if it’s particularly bitter.

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Just the first part. I like your addition.

  53. 53
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I think that’s a given, always.

  54. 54
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

    It’s not the hate, it’s the humanity.

  55. 55
    Ruckus says:

    To answer your question, yes, that was the common expression around when I was growing up. At least among the boys. Although I have heard a couple of girls use it as well.

  56. 56
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Imagine the pain my son experienced during his first winter at Northwestern, north of Chicago.

    I was a student at Northwestern in 1961-62. That winter, we had something like three weeks in a row when the temperature never got above -17°.

    I might be slightly misremembering the numbers, though not by much, but I vividly remember the long spell of bitter cold.

  57. 57
    TheNorthDakotaKid says:

    It’s always cute to see all you southerners talk about “cold” weather.

    Call me when your high for the day is below 0F.

    Fun fact! At temperatures approaching -40 you can throw a cup of boiling water in the air and no liquid water will hit the ground. Just lots of steam and ice.

  58. 58
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @namekarB: I’ll see yinz & raze yinz:

    When a man grows old, & his balls grow cold
    And the tip of his prick turns blue
    And he’s far from the strife of a Yukon life,
    He’ll tell you a tale or two;

    So pull up a chair & buy me a beer
    And a tale to you I’ll tell
    Of Deadeye Dick & Mexico Pete
    And an Eskimo girl called Nell.

    Etc./usw./atd. (Ain’t a-goin’ anywhere near the really foul verses!)

    Typed this out from memory. Your Version May Vary.

  59. 59
    jackmac says:

    Cold. Colder. Coldest. Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. When NIU enrollment boomed in the 1960s, new dorm towers and apartment complexes were built on onetime farmland (on the flattest land on earth) west and northwest of campus and with no protection from howling west/northwesterly gales. It was a long walk to classes and the campus center even on a good day. On a icy day it was almost better to stay inside. One saving grace, the NIU student government had the foresight to create a campus bus system that served icy campus outposts.

  60. 60
    Josie says:


    The boy was there from 2000-2003, and he swore that his ears never thawed all winter long. After that he spent a year in New York City and finally came back to Texas. He has never wanted to leave again.

  61. 61
    Steeplejack says:

    Not super cold in NoVA this week: mid-30s but mostly sunny. We’re supposed to get 2-4" of snow late Saturday/​early Sunday. I did a big grocery expedition on Tuesday, but today I picked up a few goodies and extras, so the housecat and I are ready to go into bunker mode. I don’t think the weather will be very bad, but it’s always nice to have the option to stay in.

  62. 62

    @schrodingers_cat: Y’all northerners are bat crap crazy, 70° is COLD.

    @Ruckus: That’s just crazy talk.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    Wind chill is what drove me to flee Chicago for California. SEVENTY BELOW in the winter of 1984, peeps!

    It’s chilly here today, though — I don’t think we broke 60 degrees. Brrr! ❄️

  64. 64
    eemom says:

    eedad is fascinated by a Siberian town called Oymyakon and tracks its weather on his iPhone. Average daily high during the winter months is like 40 below 0. Needless to say, he brings it up whenever I complain that I’m freezing to death.

  65. 65
    eemom says:


    I WANT to move to SoCal, but HE refuses. 😢

  66. 66
    tybee says:


    It’s always cute to see all you southerners talk about “cold” weather.

    and in the summer it amuses us no end when all you northerners complain about the heat

  67. 67
    Another Scott says:

    @Steeplejack: I’m down the road from you, a little.

    I stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way home and heard an announcer on WAMU say that we were going to get “a foot” of snow this weekend. I did a double-take. About 15 minutes later, the WaPo weather guy said “up to half a foot” in certain areas away from the city.

    I’m expecting 2-3 as that’s what the National Weather Service is saying (“your tax dollars at work!”) but the weather is so squirrelly, especially around here, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a little more.

    Lots of people are going to have trouble with this storm, but I don’t think the DC area has much to worry about.


  68. 68
    cintibud says:


    and in the summer it amuses us no end when all you northerners complain about the heat

    That’s why naked mopping is a thing up here in the summer

  69. 69
    Chacal Charles Calthrop says:

    I had a friend whose family & upbringing was all California/Hawaii who took a job in NYC.
    He got the works – coat, hat, scarf, mittens, and duly wore them all winter, and didn’t complain.
    Come April, he says to me, “So this winter stuff happens EVERY year?” and I was like, yeah, every year.
    And he said, “I can do this once, but I’m damned if I have to do this every single year” and went back to California.

  70. 70
    Steeplejack says:

    @Another Scott:

    In this debased age I suspect that the weather news, like the “regular” news, tilts toward clicks/​eyeballs. So let’s err on the side of the worse case but keep it close enough that we can maintain our reputation for “accuracy.”

    Regardless of how much snow we get, I’m always glad to be able to look at it from my window while holding a cup of coffee instead of being out in it.

  71. 71
    Obdurodon says:

    West of Boston here. Yeah, it’s cold. Not good swimming weather, to be sure. OTOH, in early January last year I was running and snowboarding when it was around zero. *That* sucked. Compared to that, temperatures right now seem a bit mild, and there’s not a bit of snow on the ground either. I’ll take it.

  72. 72
    Another Scott says:

    @TheNorthDakotaKid: I’ve been in -20F in Chicago, walking across the Midway in the wind, and in 34F in Georgia, waiting for a school bus.

    It felt colder in Georgia.

    E.g. a 2016 dissertation (171 page .pdf):

    Industrial and logistical activities in the Arctic are expected to increase significantly in the coming years. In this thesis it was shown that the most challenging work environment consists of ambient conditions, such as low temperatures, strong wind speeds, and moisture especially in maritime areas. The study produced scientific results from a multidisciplinary perspective on constructing layered cold protective clothing, and its clothing physiological properties in varying physical activities and ambient conditions. It was clearly shown that development of the cold protective clothing during several decades improved thermal comfort, coping and performance during longterm cold exposure. The findings are significant for improving occupational safety, health, and wellbeing as well as productivity in outdoor processes.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Other stuff out there poo-poohs the difference in humidity at low temperatures between the south and the midwest (or other areas), but your body will feel it. At least it sure seems that way.

    The hairs in your nose won’t freeze in the winter in Georgia, but the heat will get sucked out of you down there.



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