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Stauchy Blog » Blog Archive » But…What does it Feel Like?, Tuesday May 29 (LAS)

But…What does it Feel Like?, Tuesday May 29 (LAS)

People are always wondering about the amount of darkness and the temperatures that we are experiencing. When we say something like -80degF, but the windchill is -110, noone can even remotely relate….noone can imagine what that feels like…and it’s hard to describe.

On his route to ARO, Jason called and told me that there was an awesome aurora that i should step outside and take a quick peak at. I, of course, grabbed a coat and hat and walked out onto the viewing platform near destination alpha. I was wearing blue jeans, a long sleeve t-shirt, and some slip on shoes. He was right, it was worth a glance. They were beautiful. I stood out there until i couldn’t stand the feeling of my blue jeans on my legs. What did it feel like? It felt like the coldest thing i had ever touched was enveloping my legs. I wasn’t cold - I had big red and a warm hat. The skin on my thighs, however, couldn’t stand it when i moved and the cold jeans touched my skin.

I stood in front of a heater in the vestibule when one of our friends was venturing in from his smoking break. Nate is one of the materials guys who spends a fair amount of time outside. We talked about about the “rewarming” and he said something that made a lot of sense.

When he talks to his friends back home, he tries to explain that the cold he experiences here is an “outside” cold as opposed to the “inside” cold he experiences during the winter in the States. I didn’t register what he was saying without a bit more explanation. When you are outside on a cold day back home and start getting cold, you shiver, you get goose bumps, and feel cold to the core. Sometimes it’s a long warm shower or bath before you can return to a normal state. Here, that happens on occassion, but the majority of the time that you are driven inside or driven to find warmth, it’s caused by an “exterior” cold of your body.

If you aren’t wearing enough clothes, the temps will force you inside because the surface of your skin can’t handle the sting. It’s the surface cells that immediately cause you to turn back. The core may still be warm. Often, when we have been outside for long peeriods doing food moves or walking around buildings for ER tours or inspections, it’s always the feet, the hands, and any exposed skin. These are your drivers. The coldest i have been (to the core) is probably sitting in my cube with the circulation fan blowing directly on me while i was trying to work on the computer. The coldest any of my body parts have been was during a recent food move in the dome when I didn’t put some hand warmers in my mittens (we thought the tasking was going to be shorter than it turned out to be in reality). I had to take a warming break after 1.5 hours of work (And seek out some hand warmers).

So, what does -80degF feel like. It’s really cold….and we can’t describe it in the same manner that you can’t comprehend it. It doesn’t however (assuming the wind isn’t blowing strongly), cause you to start uncontrollable shivering right away. Your skin surface will start yelling at you long before your core notices a change. Perhaps there is some feeling/imagry to be taken from that…


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