As if this year didn't have enough sadness and suffering, now comes arctic air, subzero wind chills and more snow.
What does that mean for us, here in Chicago? It means pay attention to the weather forecasts. Wind chills are no joke, and frostbite and hypothermia can happen in a matter of minutes.
The National Weather Service has winter safety guidelines for those who are driving. You can read more here.
For those of us who are walking, the advice is to dress in layers and wear waterproof boots. This is good advice, but here are some more tips for dealing with a deep freeze--
Dress in light, non constricting layers. Mobility is important.
Cover hands and face--that means two layers of gloves, a hat that covers your ears, and a scarf to tie it all together.
A lightweight, windproof parka with a hood is a lifesaver. If you can, invest in one. It's possible to find one at a thrift store, too.
Practice mindfulness. This term is much overused, but in this case it means when you are walking, pay attention to walking. Don't think about your grocery list. Don't talk on your phone.
Keep your balance. This is especially important at street corners where the snow is piled up like mountains.
Sometimes it may seem safer to walk in the street. After all, the roads are clear. Do not attempt this on busy streets and high traffic areas!
When crossing a street, do not rush. Cross at the lights, even if this means walking a few blocks out of your way. Dodging traffic is risky at any time, but especially in snowy and icy conditions.
Yes, allow extra travel time. Sidewalks may be treacherous. Busses may be delayed. Trains may have switching problems.
Above all, keep a positive attitude. We are in this together. Be warm, be safe. Be careful out there!