Cold weather is a natural, if inconvenient, part of life. But sometimes it goes beyond what’s normal. When extreme cold weather arrives, you need a solid plan in place to deal with it without risking your health.
We’ve put together this article to help you achieve that. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about extreme cold temperatures and how to deal with them.
Extreme cold weather goes beyond the standard chills of winter. It’s a level of cold that presents dangers to human life if not dealt with appropriately.
If you’re wondering what is considered extreme cold weather, it’s generally described as anything that’s below 0 degree Fahrenheit.
When you get this weather for a prolonged period of time, it can be really tough to deal with -- especially since the extreme cold is often accompanied by harsh winds and snow.
There are a few different things that cause dangerous cold temperatures. For example, winter is the coldest time of the year because it’s when your portion of the earth is tilted furthest away from the sun.
Wind also plays a role in extremely cold weather. When it’s blowing heavily, it can make the outdoors feel colder than they actually are.
Recent studies also point to the role that global warming plays in extremely cold weather. Researchers have found that extreme winter weather in the Northern parts of the United States are linked to the accelerated warming of the Arctic.
What caused the extreme cold weather in Texas?
One of the best recent examples of extreme cold weather occurred in early 2021 in Texas. It stands out because most parts of Texas usually have a very warm climate and rarely receives snow.
Weather experts say that the recent cold temperatures in Texas were caused by ‘Arctic outbreak’. These are usually kept in Canada and out of the United States. But one broke through and managed to make its way down to Texas. The situation in Texas worsened because the power infrastructure in the state wasn’t equipped to deal with this type of scenario. People were staying indoors and using lots of energy to stay warm. This caused rolling blackouts, which left many residents of major cities like Austin without power for extended periods of time.
Texas is a lesson. Although you may not get extremely cold weather in your area often, the unexpected can always happen. And when it does, you need to be prepared to live without utilities for a period of time.
When people spend too long in the cold, they risk experiencing a number of negative health consequences. One of the most significant of these is hypothermia, or an abnormally low body temperature.
When a person’s body temperature gets very low, it impacts the functioning of their brain, making it difficult for them to think clearly.
So, when do you need to start worrying about cold temperatures? Experts say that it’s safe to be outside when it’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above. But when temperatures fall to between 13 and 31 degrees Fahrenheit, caution is required. People should only stay outside for about 20 minutes at a time at these temperatures.
And if the temperature is below 13 degrees Fahrenheit, the outdoors should be avoided entirely if possible.
Even though the extreme cold weather should ideally be avoided, that’s not always possible. If you live, work, or are traveling through an area with extremely cold weather, here are some strategies you can use to get through it safely.
Choosing the right clothing is how you stay warm during periods of extreme cold weather. You want to make sure that every part of your body is covered in clothing that will keep it warm.
That means investing in warm:
The best materials for these clothes are wool, synthetic, and down fibers. That’s because these materials trap your body heat instead of allowing it to escape from you. So they’ll keep you warmer than clothes made out of other types of materials.
Most people think about hydration in warm weather. But fewer consider it in extremely cold situations. But staying hydrated is just as important to do when it’s cold out as it is when the weather is warm.
This is because the body uses water to regulate its internal temperature. So if you don’t have enough water in your system, your body could struggle to maintain your temperature in the cold.
The general rule of thumb is 2.7 liters per day for women and 3.7 for men. But you could need more or less than that depending on factors like your activity level and weight.
Ideally, you don’t want to have to go out and about during extremely cold weather. But sometimes you don’t have a choice. That’s why it’s important to keep your car prepared if you think you might get extremely cold weather.
Keeping your car prepared is about making sure that it’s ready to drive in the cold weather. You can do that by taking it into a mechanic at the beginning of winter.
You also want to make sure that you have the right equipment in your car. Breakdowns can happen in extremely cold weather. And if that happens to you, it’ll be important to have things like food, water, and blankets on-hand so that you can wait for help to arrive safely.
Like your car, your home also needs to be prepared for extremely cold weather. Here are some tips for that:
- Keep your house heated to 65 degrees at least
- Leave your water valves on a drip so that they don’t freeze
- Weather sealyour doors and windows
- Make sure that you have plenty of warm clothes and blankets
- Keep your home stocked with water and non-perishable food
Working in extreme cold presents its own challenges. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind if you have to do this.
Know the signs of hypothermia
If you’re working outdoors, you need to know the warning signs of hypothermia so that you can take yourself out of a dangerous situation before it becomes serious. Here they are:
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
Your body needs the right fuel to keep itself going when it’s out in the cold for prolonged periods of time. So try to keep warm beverages and calorie-dense food with you. Make it a point to sip your drink and have some food every so often so that your body has enough energy to get you through the day.
Layering is a really important part of dressing for the cold. You should wear at least three layers in this type of weather. The first layer should be long underwear, the second should be a sweater or sweatshirt, and the third layer should be an overcoat.
If you have a home that’s located in a place that gets extremely cold, here are some tips to manage that.
One of the most important things to do is to make sure that you have a reliable source of backup power for your home. Utilities can, and often do, get shut down during prolonged periods of cold weather. But that’s exactly when you need the most power.
One option is to pick up a portable power station from Jackery. These are super easy to charge and you can use them to power a wide variety of home appliances and gadgets.
Know where your closest emergency shelter is
If the extremely cold weather lasts for a very long time, you may end up needing to evacuate your home. So make sure that you know where the nearest emergency shelter is so that you don’t have to try and figure it out when you’re without power.
If you know that you live in an area that gets extremely cold at the same part of the year every year, consider using the opportunity to take a vacation. The more time you can spend away from the extremely cold weather, the better.
Extremely cold weather is never fun. But you can make it through it safely by following the practices laid out in this article. Here are the most important things to keep in mind while dealing with this type of weather:
- Dress in layers when outdoors
- Keep a backup source of power in your home
- Prepare your car for cold weather
- Make sure to eat and drink enough
- Only go outside when you absolutely need to
Jackery’s portable power stations help people make it through extremely cold weather. You can charge one and have it ready for home use. Or, take it with you when you’re in your car so that you can keep your phone charged in case of an emergency.
Our portable power stations are a versatile solution that can help you deal with whatever nature throws at you. Take a look at our website to learn more.