As you shiver and cuss through the current cold spell, some warming thoughts.
OK, maybe not so much “warming” thoughts, and more like “it could be worse” thoughts.
At least you are not in Oymyakon, Russia, which hit a balmy 48 below zero early Tuesday morning, and climbed to minus 24 degrees as the day went on, according to AccuWeather’s website.
It is supposed to hit 3 degrees Thursday night here, zero Friday night, and 1 degree Saturday night. That still sounds toasty compared to Oymyakon.
If it was 50 degrees warmer right now, you’d probably be mighty comfortable, right? Well, it is 50 degrees warmer here than in parts of Russia. It’s entirely possible someone in Oymyakon is saying (in Russian) “Well, comrade, I hear it’s 11 degrees in Pennsylvania. Lucky capitalists!”
Presumably, they are not speaking in a Boris Badinov voice.
And that’s not the coldest place on earth — although, according to smosh.com, Russia does have the three of the coldest places on earth “where people actually live.” Lucky Ruskies.
For the coldest corner of terra firma, you’ve got to go to (no surprise) the bottom of the globe: Antarctica. Specifically, Vostok Station, where the coldest temperature ever recorded was taken 1983. The mercury hit 128.6 degrees below zero on a high inland ice sheet. To warm up, the Vostokians could go closer to sea level, where winter temperatures soar to about 76 degrees below zero.
So, yeah, it’s cold, but it’s not not Oymyakon cold, and it’s certainly not Vostok cold — although, in fairness, Tuesday’s temperatures here were actually colder that in Reykjavik, Iceland, a city that hit 34 above zero Tuesday. Kind of makes the nation’s name a bit overrated.
The difference, of course, is that most of those cold places stay cold for months. Even if this is one of the longer cold snaps in local annals, it still only expected to last for a week or two. In Vostok, the warm summer highs typically linger some 25 degrees below zero. Our current Arctic blast would probably be a record-breaking heat wave there.
Not to make light of the risk and discomfort this cold spell creates. The usual advice applies. Stay indoors as much as possible, bundle up and protect skin (face and hands) if you go out, wear layers. If you know elderly people at risk, check in on them. If you’re sitting in a home with central heat, consider donating a little money to charities that help shelter the homeless. Don’t assume your pet’s fur is enough to protect outdoors in these temperatures.
But as temperatures elsewhere indicate, this really isn’t that terrible. During a weekend story on a local news station about hardy hikers walking through Nescopeck Park, one man put it simply. There’s no such thing as bad weather, he said, there’s just bad dressing for the weather.
Dress with the idea that you could be forced to stand in the cold for a spell — rather than assuming you’ll only be exposed running from car to store —and you should get through this just fine.
It’s really cold, but it only seems unbearable.