Monthly Archives: January 2014


There’s not a lot of difference between -15° and -16°. You don’t really get as much, if any, of the freezing nostril thing at -15°. Otherwise, it’s still pretty damn cold. But something I have been noticing with the snowstorms we’ve gotten thanks to the still-absurdly-named polar vortex is that the mornings after, the snow is still pretty much covering the roads. It’s not slushy yet, you can barely see any black, if you can see through it at all.



Basically, salt doesn’t work at temperatures this low. A guy from PA’s department of transportation says:

“‘Shoveling is not a pleasant exercise when wind chills are below zero, and road salt becomes less effective in pavement temperatures below [-9.5º*]’, said Nick Martino, a PennDot maintenance manager.”

* Temperature changed to C. Come on.

Wind at this temperature still sucks. Fact.



I am a vain man.  I don’t like hats. They mess up my hair, so I almost never wear them. Walking to the train station the other day though, I discovered a temperature where fear of necrosis trumps vanity. At -11º, any bare skin is pretty much a candidate for an early death.

I was actually pretty surprised at how different covered vs. non-covered skin felt at this temperature. Since I usually don’t wear hats, my ears are always exposed to whatever’s going on. After a few minutes of walking in the cold this morning, I thought I actually might lose feeling in my ears if I didn’t put my hood up.

Moving on to other body parts, I have these very warm gloves I bought at the Philly Christmas market a few years ago. Because of the velcro on my wallet, the fabric on the left hand glove’s thumb is pulling away. This morning, when for a second my thumb slipped through the fabric, it was almost instantaneously like, holy shit, this bitch is cold.

So, here’s your lesson for -11º: wear some shit.

Brr! The Schuylkill River is frozen! (Photo by @iamracerexx)

A post shared by Visit Philly (@visitphilly) on

This apparently also happens at -11º.


So it was cold today. Like awesomely cold; I was literally in some awe of how cold it was. Apparently a large swath of the United States was caught in a polar vortex, which seems to be a real thing despite sounding like a Star Trek episode name. Basically a lot of places were colder than usual. I hear they even canceled school in Florida. I guess they don’t know what to do with cold weather in January down there.

I love winter and the cold, so I was looking forward to feeling some of the coldest temperatures I’ve felt in a while. Today definitely delivered. I got to feel a temperature I probably won’t get to feel for a long time: -16º.

Apparently something magical happens at this temperature. Obviously when you step outside you immediately feel cold, but when you start to breathe, you feel something amazing. You can feel the moisture around your nostrils crystalizing a little. It’s like a small treat the world has given you, especially if you’ve never experienced it before. I’m sure other things happen too, but this is what I most noticed. That and how fucking cold it was.