Many Are Cold, but Few Are Frozen

David Lawrence's personal blog

Black Ice, Deep Winter

I say No to subzero temperatures

I say No to subzero temperatures

Recently, a friend who lives in Mongolia posted a funny comment in Facebook: "It might warm up enough to go skiing this weekend. That sounds ridiculous." It does sound ridiculous, but it's true. Most of this month has been exceptionally cold, and you could lose your entire face to frostbite if you went skiing. Luckily for my friend, it warmed up to the minus teens for a few days, and he managed to go skiing.

The next ten days are going to be rough. It will be in the -30s every day, and tomorrow night the temperature will dip below -40C again. There will also be snow. There isn't much of the white stuff in Mongolia, but when it falls, it doesn't melt until spring. That means May.

On the roads, the snow gets pressed into ice by the traffic. Down the center and at the edges it even looks like ice. But everywhere else, it's almost invisible. You can only tell it's there when you're driving or walking across the road and you slip on it.

You have to be very careful when you cross the street. If you try to run to beat the traffic, you could easily slip and fall in front of a moving vehicle. It would brake, of course, but then it would slide on the ice right over you. Instead, you have to learn to walk by placing each step directly down, without any horizontal movement, like robots in Japanese research centers.

We are now in deep winter, the middle of the coldest three months of the year. I never thought I would look forward to temperatures in minus single digits.