There's nothing like waking up in the morning, turning on your computer and surfing to Environment Canada's website to discover the magic words "Wind Chill Warning" and discovering the temperature is -30 with a wind chill of -52. That makes you want to stagger out of the apartment in the morning.
It didn't get much better for the rest of the day. I think the high with wind chill was around -48. As I type this it has dipped back down to -51.
If this wasn't bad enough, there were reports on the local radio station that the wind chill was actually around -62. Which lead me to wonder what was going on. There were two possibilities. First, that someone in town has better weather instruments than Environment Canada. Not beyond the realm of possibility, by the way. Forecasts in town are predicted out of Edmonton, and I don't care how good your instruments are, getting accurate readings sitting at a desk staring at a computer in Edmonton doesn't quite cut it.
The more likely option is that the radio was using the old method of measuring wind chill. And yes, there is more than one way.
Why stick with the old way? Well, it tended to exaggerate the level of cold and there does come a point where you like to brag to people about the level of cold you're enduring. I don't know why. I think -52 is a pretty damn impressive level of cold, but hey, if you want to make it sound even more bitter, then go crazy.
But while poking around I found this article in Slate magazine which also explains wind chill and suggests that it ought to be eliminated because it's impossible to measure accurately and tends to be used as a scary number. It doesn't really mean anything.
I'm not sure I agree. Maybe -52 isn't a completely accurate number. Maybe it's actually -55. Maybe it's actually -45. I just know I've been out in -30 without wind and -30 with wind. And let me tell you, today felt a goddamn bit colder than -30. And it's nice to have a ballpark idea of exactly how bitter it is before I go outside.
Anyway, more of this tomorrow. I know I said I'd prefer to freeze than shovel, but many more days in a row like this and I might have to reconsider.
One last thing, I stepped on the scales again this evening. 233.6 pounds, which means I'm down 0.8 pounds. Hey, it's down, that's what matters.