Chiberian Survival Tips

Chiberian Survival Tips
NWS Chicago

It's  cold out there!  Colder than Alaska, colder than Antarctica.  And it's going to get even colder. And there will be snow.  Chiberia is back. Remember?

Yes, warmer days are coming, but in the meantime,  how do we survive this deep freeze?

Drinking and brooding were  Mike Royko's favorite ways of getting through a Chicago winter. But there are better ways to  deal with winter in Chiberia---

Be prepared--Stock up on food for you and your pets. Milk, oatmeal, dog food, cat food, etc. Clementines and potatoes are in season, now. If you have outside faucets, they will need some kind of insulating protection. There's a use for those tattered sweaters. They kept you warm, now they can keep the pipes from freezing.

Plan where you are going, and what you need to do.   Keep track of keys, gloves, etc.

If you are driving, please be aware that stray animals may be seeking warmth in your car engine. Knock on the hood, make noise to alert them. Even if it is a short commute or errands, it's a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car. Make sure your phone is charged. Drive slowly and allow space between vehicles. Pay attention, and allow extra travel time.

If you are walking, here's a post for you.

Wear  layers. Yes, the lighter the better for layering. Merino wool is light and warm. Cashmere is also warm, light and very soft. You don't need to spend big money. You can find these things at charity shops and thrift stores, as well.

Here is a post on Chiberian chic that may inspire you.  Don't forget  a hat, a scarf  or two and gloves or mittens. I would suggest carrying  spares of these in case you  lose them, or if you meet someone who really needs them. Yes, this is reality.  You want to stay warm and dry. It  can be a matter of life and death.

Moisturize!  Again, this doesn't have to be expensive. Oils are your allies now--jojoba, avocado, olive oil and hemp oil are all good. Some people prefer coconut oil.  These oils  are also helpful if you, like me, have  high-static hair from all those wool layers.

Humidify!  Winter air is very dry. This is one reason for the high static hair and paper cuts.  If you don't have a humidifier, pots of boiling water can add moisture to dry indoor air.

Keep warm! Think stews, chili, soups of all kinds. Lentils and split peas are inexpensive, and they can cook  in an hour or so. These are the dal of  India. You may think of split-pea soup with ham or bacon, but did you know that split peas and rice is called kitchri in Trinidad?  Here is a recipe.

Speaking of India and Trinidad, think of the colors there--the reds and pinks, greens, oranges and turquoise blue! Colors can be very effective in counteracting the cold and gray days.

Think of others!   Leave food out for the birds and squirrels.   If you have pets, limit their time outside, or keep them inside. If you have kids, make sure they are bundled up.  Think of your neighbors-- Are they all right? Do they need help with the snow?   If you see anyone who may need help, please call 311. You could save a life.

Think positive! Remember, we  are all in this together.  That's the Chiberian spirit!


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  • After I guess the 2014 outbreak, I went to a sporting goods store and asked for a coat warm enough to survive a winter like that one. I also recently cashed in a $10 buyer's reward for a set of Sketchers boots. I didn't think I needed either, but now I'm not cold.

    Also, don't forget to leave out Mexican and French food and similar small animals for the coyotes, or maybe you should.

    Otherwise, I'll have to wait for Ariel Tweto to fly me out of here.

  • In reply to jack:

    Greetings, Jack! Thanks for reading.
    Yes, if you can afford it, good boots and a good coat are worth the investment. They end up costing less because they last for many winters.
    Do you have coyotes out by you? There are possums and raccoons, here.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    There were periodically reports of coyotes in the forest preserves preying on chihuahuas and poodles (hence my reference above), then last summer a suburb over, then I looked out my patio door and saw a very ugly dog, and then realized that it was one. Village wasn't very interested in it, except to email me a link to a database if I wanted to report it further.

  • In reply to jack:

    Coyotes don't want trouble with people, but they do prey on cats and small dogs. One summer a few years ago, a coyote was spotted in downtown Chicago, in a 7-11, by the cold drinks section.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    I sort of remember that, but only in the sense that it was in a cooler. Search indicates that one was in a Quizno's.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, it was a Quizno's sub shop! Thanks, Jack.

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Oh, I remember that cold drinks cooler! Some wit put a stuffed Wile E. Coyote in the cooler not long after that!

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Did someone suspend an Acme Anvil over it?

  • In reply to jack:

    That would've been brilliant, but no.

  • Thanks for the reminders -- this is a real public service.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thanks so much for reading! You know we'll have tales to tell...

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Due to technology, not as many as perhaps in 1979. I questioned whether to go to park district activities and put out garbage tonight, but my email box was filled with messages saying those things were canceled.

  • Last night was so called you needed more than three dogs to stay warm.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Oh, yes! Thanks for reading, AW!

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