Is it Cold Enough For You?

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Express artist Ashley Hicklin shows how girls plan to layer up to stay warm in the school building.

Photo by: Ashley Hicklin
Express artist Ashley Hicklin shows how girls plan to layer up to stay warm in the school building.

 

 

 

It’s been mighty cold lately, hasn’t it? Just wait, it’s going to get colder! The month of December is expected to have a low of 5˚. So here’s the question: how can we, as high schoolers, prepare for the inevitable Snowmageddon?

VEHICLES
Have a mechanic give your vehicles a good going over, and a tune-up if needed. If you don’t know a good shop, look for the guy with all the vehicles parked out front- he’s your best bet.
Have a mechanic check the antifreeze concentration in your car’s coolant system. There needs to be more in the system during sub-zero weather.
If your car battery is more than 5 years old, you might want to think about replacing it before the cold sets in, or ask your mechanic to perform a load test. A low battery can freeze solid – ruining it for good. A fully charged battery will not freeze – unless you live in Siberia.

Clothes
Put layers of clothing on before going out in the snow. The layers trap air between them and add lots of warmth. As the temperature changes, you can peel off layers to stay comfortable. Even 20 or 30 minutes outside on a frigid day can bring on hyperthermia.
The base layer of clothing is the layer that you wear closest to your skin. Base layers should be made out of a fabric that has the ability to wick moisture away from your skin and through the fabric so that it can evaporate. Synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene and natural fibers such as wool have wicking abilities.Choose base layers that fit closely to the skin without being so tight that they constrict blood flow, as blood circulation is necessary to warmth. In an extremely cold environment, choose two base layer items–one that will cover the bottom half of your body and another for the top.
In an extremely cold-weather environment, you’ll want an insulating layer that you will wear over your base layer. Insulating layers are often more bulky than other layers, and include down or synthetic puffy-style jackets and fleece tops and bottoms. Synthetic materials, such as fleece, can maintain heat even when wet. Wool can also be a good choice for an insulating layer. Avoid dry down filling. When it gets wet, the down can become matted and lose its insulating properties.
Choose an outer layer that will protect your body and other clothing layers from the elements, including the extreme cold, wind, rain, sleet, and snow. Several styles of waterproof jackets are now designed to protect against the wind and rain while also allowing moisture to evaporate from the body;
You might lose your gloves or leave them at school, so keep a few pairs on hand. Remember, fingers can freeze in minutes on a sub-zero day.
Most of the heat loss from the human body occurs through our heads, so you especially need a stocking cap to pull over your ears. If you’re worried about your hair getting messy, get over it, because you won’t care once your ears are frozen off.

Animals
Give all animals a place to get in out of the wind.
Increase food for pets and livestock as they’ll burn more calories trying to keep warm.
Try to keep at least several weeks worth of food on hand. You don’t want to run out at a time when it might be difficult to get some more.
Add more bedding and provide a snuggly blanket for pets to sleep on.

Final Cold-Weather Survival Tips
Check with a local mechanic to make sure your vehicle is in good shape before the cold really hits.
Keep clothing clean; dirt and grease can reduce its insulation value
Keep clothing dry; plan ahead to protect dry layers, and dry out wet layers in the sun between breaks in bad weather
Keep your head covered to protect your brain and the blood circulating in your head
Cover your neck, wrists, and ankles to avoid losing heat from these vital areas
Avoid cotton layers. Cotton absorbs moisture without wicking it from your body effectively
Be sure to have somewhere warm for your pets. They hate being cold as much as you.
Keep lots of pet food on hand just in case the weather gets super bad and you can’t leave to get more. (This applies to human food as well!)

Good luck staying warm!

Snuggling and hot beverages are optional but recommended.

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