Wednesday, December 02, 2009
A chilly night
Sometimes when I look at the thermometer, I can’t believe what I see. Today was one of those days. It felt so raw and damp that I thought the actual temperature must be at least 10 degrees cooler than it was. The chill wound its way under my coat and up my sleeves. As soon as I could, I came inside the cabin and got a heavier coat.
Temperature and how cold or warm I feel do not always track together. I’ve wandered around on cold, dry, sunny winter days with an unbuttoned jacket when the actual temperature was below zero. Today, the temperature was only flirting with freezing, but you couldn’t have guessed that by the coat I ended up wearing.
In describing this phenomenon, weather people usually talk about wet bulbs and dry bulbs. That’s really just the scientific way of factoring in how moist the air is. When the air is moist in cool weather, it feels worse than the temperature would indicate. Add in a little breeze, and it feels even colder.
A friend who was originally from the Green Bay area used to tell me that he felt colder in winter Pennsylvania than he ever did in Wisconsin. Their winters are dry cold; Pennsylvania’s are usually a wet cold that feel far worse than you’d expect.
This morning is overcast and raw, so you can safely assume today’s photo wasn’t taken today. Even though last night’s full moon was obscured by the high cirrus clouds, it still managed to brighten the forest. Both great horned owls and a screech owl called late into the evening. The red foxes were barking at each other higher up on the mountain somewhere. They were all, I think, taking advantage of the added light despite the chill. Tonight, it will be warmer but raining. I expect the woods will be quieter as we all try to shelter from the rain.