But it’s a DRY cold!

When I first moved to Bakersfield, the temperatures were near 100 for the first few weeks. And I was never all that hot, really. Why? Because the adage is true — the heat out here is a dry heat. A far cry from the August in DC 90-degree temperatures and air so humid I could drink it that I’d left behind, the weather here was comfortable, even at high temperatures.

Here’s the kicker. That also means the cold is a dry cold. There is no moisture to help hold in heat, no need to monitor the dewpoint. So, for example, when I went for a run yesterday at dusk (4:45 p.m. — goodness), my long shorts and sleeveless t-shirt quickly went from being perfectly comfortable to way too little clothing to help me regulate my body temperature. I had to turn for home after just 2 miles because the temperature plummeted with the setting sun.

Now, my East coast sensibilities argue that 70 to 55 is hardly “plummeting” — dropping, yes. I know I’m supposed to dress for 20 degrees warmer than the real temperature when I run, because my body will heat up that much, so dressing for 75-degree weather seemed reasonable. All that logic and reason amounted to last night, though, was an icicle nose and what I can only guess was very mild hypothermia — I had to stand in a warm/hot shower for 20 minutes just to stop shivering.

I learned yesterday that I must adapt to what passes for winter here, because it really is chilly. I will have to try wearing layers or maybe changing what time of day I run. I even lit a fire in my fireplace tonight (it’s 50 degrees, and my East coast sensibilities are ok with that).

Amazingly, this time last year I was spending a fair amount of time in western Massachusetts, where the average daytime temperatures hit 30 on lucky days. I was able to walk around comfortably there in jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, a knit scarf and gloves.

Must’ve been a wet cold?


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