I believe it. Despite what one local climatologist says, I believe that there is a difference between wet and dry cold.
This morning, I went outside with the dogs before I headed off on my errands. It was a cold, crisp, sunny day and I was enchanted by the sun colors dancing on the snow, and the tiniest twigs and branches outlined in white fur.
I stood outside in my shirt sleeves, perfectly comfortable. Then I touched my hair, still damp from the shower. It was hard. Frozen.
I went back inside and discovered that it was -2 degrees Fahrenheit (-19 degrees C). I hadn’t even noticed! It was cold, but it wasn’t crippling cold. I would never have guessed that it was below zero F.
I guess it’s because it’s a “dry cold,” a concept I had heard about from my chiropractor in Santa Barbara. He’d grown up here in Calgary, and had spent his teens in Denver, Colorado, but said the coldest he’s ever been is in Santa Barbara. I, of course, guffawed. But he explained that the air is so moist in Santa Barbara that it “sits on you,” hugging you, whether it’s heat or cold, whereas in Calgary and Denver, the air is so dry that it doesn’t sit on you. Rather, you really only feel it when you move through it swiftly, forcing the air against your skin.
Well, color me a believer. It is currently 1 degree F outside (-17 C), and sunny, and glorious, and I can stand out there in shirt sleeves for as long as I wish without feeling the grip of cold. Yes, I am always warm, but you’d think I’d feel 1 degree temperature as cold.
Dave Phillips, a climatologist from Environment Canada, says that there simply is no such thing as a “wet” or “dry” cold, that -15 degrees C in Calgary feels the exact same as -15 degrees C in Ontario (a “wetter” climate).
“There’s nothing to it. It’s a myth,” Phillips said. “I hear it so much on the Prairies; ‘At least ours is a dry cold, not like that damp cold you have in Ontario. And our heat is dry.”
“At these very low temperatures, there is virtually no humidity in the air. If there was humidity, you’d be in an ice fog. All that moisture would condense in the air and you’d be in an ice fog,” Phillips explained. “You wouldn’t be able to see the hood ornament of your car.
“At those very low temperatures, it’s almost a desert dryness.”
The biggest factor in “feeling” colder is the wind, says Phillips.
Maybe he’s right. There is no wind today, so the air isn’t pushing against me. But I’ll tell you, 30 degrees F in San Diego felt a lot colder than does 1 degree F here in Calgary. It seemed to creep into my bones. Not so here.
And 77.96% of people polled on the article website agree that there is a “wet” cold and a “dry” cold.
Whatever the reason, with the sun out, it’s a Winter Wonderland, and I want to be out in it, no matter what the temperature! The one way I do feel the cold is when my pant legs move and touch my legs. THEN I know it’s cold! But, if I stand still, I’m golden!