But it’s a dry cold…

So, uh, yeah. I’m an idiot.

I find it annoying to zip up my parka. (I overheat really easily and having to keep unzipping/zipping it just bugs me.) So normally I wear a fleece jacket underneath the parka. Today, I was feeling really warm when I left for work and, since I’d planned on taking a cab to and from work, I decided not to wear the fleece jacket. Even as I made that choice, I knew it was a mistake but I pushed on anyway.

After work, there were no cabs at the taxi stand near my building, the taxi stand that always has cars at it. By the time I discovered that, I had three choices: walk back to the office and call a cab from there, stay outside and call a cab, or take the bus home. I decided on the bus. Unfortunately my gloves and scarf were buried under a lot of stuff in my backpack. The idea of standing in the cold and wind digging through everything to find them was not enticing. It’s only going to be a few minutes, says I. So what if it’s -19 Celsius, -32 with the wind chill.

The first five minutes I was actually quite comfortable. (I told you, I run hot.) Then the wind caught me and I started to feel the cold. (I’m sure the people at the bus stop thought I was insane — or ill — standing there with my coat open, v-neck shirt doing little to stop the wind.) Three bus rides, two very chilly transfers, and a loooong walk through the wind tunnel in front of my building, and here I am, with a wind burn* that I didn’t even know I had until I noticed that the tip of my nose really hurt. (Actually, it hurts and it itches

So, yeah. I learned today that standing or walking in -32 degree wind chill without proper clothing is a bad idea. (I know — bit late in life for me to be learning that lesson.) Researchers have apparently determined that below -27, the risk of frostbite increases exponentially — at -40C, it only takes 10 minutes exposure for you to get frostnipped, the precursor to frostbite.

* Did you know that there’s supposedly no such thing as a wind burn? According to many, it’s really just a sunburn, caused by the wind stripping the UV-protecting sweat and moisture from your skin. I think that’s BS. I’ve had sunburns and other heat or scalding burns before. A wind burn is different. It’s more of a friction burn, kind of like a carpet burn.


I’ll huff and I’ll puff

Holy crap!

Now I really believe it’s Winter in Ottawa.

I was woken up at about 2am this morning by the sheer force of the wind blowing against my windows, and by the sudden drop in temperature in my previously-warm apartment — at about 10pm last night, it was -4 degrees Celsius; within a couple of hours, the temperature had plummeted by more than 10 degrees and the strong, chilly winds from the northwest, which is the unfortunate direction that all of my windows face, had kicked in.

At 3am, in the face of the 59 kph winds that were making me dream of natural disasters, I finally gave in and got up. (The cat is thankful, I’m sure, since I decided to be useful and clean his litter box while I was up.) The winds are slowly dying down, but as they do, the temperature is dropping more: it’s now 5:00am and the temperature is -17, with a wind chill of -30.

All I can say is “Brrr!!!”


Ottawa Citizen: Weather watchers warn of ‘snow-mageddon’

In its usual “measured, scientific manner,” the agency said: “Mother Nature from time to time will line up a near perfect set of conditions that generate a series of significant events. That time appears to be the coming week or so for many portions of southern Ontario in the form of snow storms.”

Some 10 centimetres of snow fell Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, and storms Friday and Sunday could bring an additional fall totalling about 40 centimetres, accompanied by plunging temperatures and high winds.

There’s no real weather warning issued for Ottawa yet. And only watches for Southern Ontario. We’ll see whether anything much develops up here — last year, we got so many storm watches and warnings, and few of them turned out to be much of anything at all.

It’s been a snowy December so far. It beats cold — when it isn’t snowing, the temperature drops considerably so I’d rather have snow. Mind you, I don’t have a car or a walkway/driveway to shovel.