“We are in the centre of a cold arctic blast.” These are the words I want to borrow from John Sauder of CKY News because they describe perfectly well what we are experiencing here in Southern Manitoba.
It started on Thursday morning with a blowing snow. Temperature was minus 23C with a windchill factor of minus 32. I told the kids to bundle up. I blew dry Ryan’s hair before he went out of the house. You don’t want to go outside with wet hair in weather like this.
This is Ryland getting ready to go out of the house. Snow pants, jacket, winter boots, gloves, and make sure you cover up the head. Did you know that you lose a lot of heat through your head?
These are his boots. This is the ideal footwear for winter. They have thick removable liners and spikes on the soles for traction against the slippery ice.
I was also bundled up. I don’t wear snow pants nor long johns (long underwear, I don’t like them). But I have these leg warmers that I wear under my jeans. I also wore two pairs of socks because I don’t have winter boots (I should really buy a pair). Wearing layers of clothing is the key to keeping warm in an extreme temperature like this. I also covered half of my face with a scarf because it’s kind of hard to breathe in cold air and I wanted to expose less skin as much as possible.
Driving conditions were bad as visibility was only 5 m. Vehicles had their fog lights on. I took this picture while I was at my patrol post, in between crossing the children. There were not a lot of kids walking. Some of the parents must have driven their children to school because it was cold and it was hard to walk with the wind gusting like that.
I stayed out there for only ten minutes. As I was walking home, I met a kid who crosses the street where my post is. Well, he was late, and I was already shivering and my mitts were already frosty and I could feel that my eyelashes were getting frosty as well.
When I went out in the afternoon to do my patrol duty, I didn’t see any other school patrols out there. I felt so lonely. I wondered if I should have gone out at all. I forgot to ask when we had the patrol meeting when patrols are excused from their posts, at what temperature and windchill factor? So when my son came home from school, I asked him if I was indeed the only patrol out there. He said yes. It turned out that the principal announced over the P.A. before they were dismissed that the patrols were to stay outside only for five minutes because the windchill was already minus 40.
What is windchill? You might ask.
Windchill is a still-air temperature that would have the same cooling effect on exposed human flesh as a given combination of temperature and wind speed called also chill factor, windchill factor, windchill index.
Here is an example given by John Sauder:
Minus 30 degrees C with a wind of 20 km/h will produce a windchill of minus 43.
Minus 30 degrees C with a wind of 30 km/h will produce a windchill of minus 48.
Minus 35 degrees C with a wind of 30 km/h will produce a windchill of minus 52.
Minus 40 degrees C with a wind of 30 km/h will produce a windchill of minus 59.
These are the effects of windchill on exposed skin:
Minus 10 to minus 24 – Uncomfortably cold
Minus 25 to minus 39 – Risk of frostbite
Minus 40 to minus 49 – Frostbite can occur in less than 10 minutes
Minus 50 and colder – Frostbite can occur in less than 2 minutes
A windchill warning was announced last night. Windchill went lower up to minus 41 overnight.
And this (Friday) morning, we woke up to a temperature of minus 35, windchill of minus 48. Ay ay ay ay ay. Windchill warning is still in effect and will last up to a few days.
No school buses were running but schools were still open. Some schools outside of Winnipeg were closed. There were transit delays of up to 19 minutes.
Reggie (my 17-year old) took a cab to school. My sister drove Ryan (my 12-year old) and her own kids to school. I asked Ryland, my third-grader if he wanted to go to school. He said yes at first because he didn’t want to miss Spelling test today. But when he saw minus 48 on the TV screen, he said that he’d just stay home. So he did. And it’s on days like these that I am really grateful that I work at home. I didn’t have to go out there in that treacherous and viciously cold weather.
There is a lot of condensation in the house. This is ice forming on our windowsill. Notice how dark it still is outside and this was already 8:00 a.m. Half an hour before the sun rose.
This is frost on the bedroom window.
I didn’t plan to go outside but I opened the door just to get a feel of it. It felt like stepping inside a deep huge freezer.
Believe it or not, that’s our newly-placed chimney at the side of our house. We had a new heater installed just last week and I didn’t expect our chimney to look like that. Oh well.
Now you don’t have to wonder why Manitobans are tough. Once you experience temperatures like these, minus 19 is really nothing. And this is not the worst we’ve had. In 2004, it went down to minus 50.