It’s cold outside, but let’s be honest: Michiganders have seen worse. That said, worse weather isn’t far off.
Beginning Wednesday night, it will be bitterly cold for day. Current forecasts show that we’ll have wind chills below freezing for the rest of the work week.
“Not in weather like this,” said Gavin Potts, responding to the question whether he’ll work outside when the weather is as cold as it is today.
“It could be dangerous and it’ll get worse. You can lose fingers in weather like this.”
Of course, not all jobs move indoors this time of year. Throughout metro Detroit construction workers remain on the job.
Chandler Hale works with concrete. Hale was hard at work today.
“Oh yeah, this is a work day,” said Hale. “I mean, there will be a time where there’s too much and we won’t be able to do anymore work, you know? We’re just trying to clear off most of the snow and just trying to keep ahead of it in case we can lay more concrete.”
Hale said he counts on layers. On Tuesday he had two pairs of wool socks, two sets of long johns, and three shirts under his sweater, coat combo.
The experts at REI, an outdoor recreation company, stress that layers are a must when the temperature turns bitterly cold.
“The advice I always start with what you want, and what you want to avoid,” said Ravi Sivanandham, an REI employee. “One of the materials I try to tell people to stay away from is cotton.”
Cotton gets wet and stays wet. Sivanandham points out that wet clothing leads to cold-weather injuries like hypothermia. Every piece of cold-weather gear you find in REI is made with synthetics like polyester nylon, merino wool or even silk. It keeps you warm even if it’s wet, and they tend to dry faster too.
That type of material also allows you to layer comfortably.
At REI they recommend three layers: a base layer to wick away moisture, an insulation layer, and a third layer that will keep out snow, sleet and anything else Michigan weather can handle.
“We always get the question I want the warmest, thinnest type of glove,” noted Sivanandham. “Unfortunately, the warmest, thinnest, most efficient glove isn’t a glove at all; it’s a mitten.
That’s why it’s recommended you wear a thin “liner” glove inside of a mitten. Sivanandham said it gives the wearer the option of pulling it off to complete work, with the ability to pull it back on and keep your hand as warm as possible.
Regardless of how many warnings people get, Hale said he still sees people braving the cold in gear that doesn’t help them if they get stuck in the cold.
“I see everybody get stuck in their cars and they get out in a hoodie,” said Hale. “I mean, what are you going to do if you get a flat tire? You’re screwed! That’s what it comes down to. You’ve got to be ready for it.”