This morning in New Albany the temperature is 10 degrees Fahrenheit, coupled with a 21 mph wind. That means we’ve got a wind chill factor of -15 degrees, and a severe weather alert on the iPhone weather app.
Those are just numbers, however. People who live in warmer climates may wonder: what does it mean when the wind chill factor is 15 below zero?
It means that when you walk outside, your eyes water from the intense cold and the tears freeze to your cheeks.
It means that you walk with your head angled downward, hoping that the top of your head will cut into the breeze like the prow of a ship.
It means that everything in your nose freezes, leaving your nostrils clogged with sharp little bricks and nuggets, while at the same time your sinuses drain and fill your mouth with a sludgy, slimy, ever-replenishing reservoir of phlegm.
It means that every inch of exposed skin feels scoured and brittle and inflamed and raw, all at the same time.
It means that your neighbors should be especially appreciative of your resolve to pick up dog poop, because when you remove your glove to do the dirty deed you are ensuring that the hand will remain stiff with cold until you get back inside.
It’s not a pretty picture. But it also means that, when you finally do escape the cold, and feel the tingle in your cheeks and ears as the warmth returns, you are grateful for a working furnace, and that hot cup of freshly brewed coffee tastes awfully good.