When you feel colder than the thermometer indicates

Happens a lot around here, this time of year.

One of the unusual things about our part of the country is the land’s ability to hold the temperature at a point just above the dew point. In our part of the country, this is always around 36° – 38°. If it gets warmer, the air can pick up the humidity and you’re more comfortable (in a relative sense). Colder, and we pass the dew point, the moisture falls out of the air, and we get drier.

When we were kids, we used to call this the ‘conversion temperature’, that is, where the air goes from being a temperate-area damp and cold to an arctic dry and cold. Anybody from a drier part of the country can tell you that you can stand really cold temperatures as long as the humidity stays fairly low.

Except our part of the country seems to excel at generating cold temperatures and higher humidity levels; both of which make you get a chill outside much sooner. A family member from Nebraska commented that often he felt a lot colder here (in our temperate winters) than he did in Nebraska (which needs no explanation).

Last night, I was out reading and got so cold I had to come in; even though it wasn’t raining at the moment. As soon as I got inside, it struck me: Even a month or so ago, with our very cold and dry temperatures, I was as cold at 38° as I had been four weeks ago, at 22°.

“Conversion temperature” – one of those wonders which God designed when he created Physics.


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