How Do People Live Where It Gets So Cold?

Apparently a cold front has hit San Francisco and it’s down in the 40’s at the moment and lots of my friends and acquaintances on FaceBook are complaining about how cold it is.

Granted, being a native I would probably be saying the same thing if I was there, but now that I’m not and have had to experience winter in the teens and for a few days in the single digits I’ve learned a few things that explain why people [like me] live in places where it gets cold and snowy.

  1. We don’t have as much wind here: Granted SF isn’t called the Windy City, but the wind blows and that makes 50° weather seem cold. We do get occasional bursts of wind for a day or two, but you’re usually not spending too much time outside because you’ve got larger living spaces and you only have to walk about 10′ to get to your car.
  2. We have heat: Sure, lots of places in SF have heat as well, but there are plenty of apartments and houses that have old or non-existent heating systems that do little to heat the house so you have to rely on space heaters which are better than nothing, but won’t give you a warm to the bone feeling.
  3. Humidity can be your friend: This was a weird one for me. It was 48° one day and I stupidly walked outside with a t-shirt and jeans on and realized that it wasn’t that bad. I actually put the garbage out this morning in 28° with a hoodie and jeans and it felt cold, but I wasn’t fazed by it too much. Humidity sucks when it’s hot, but when it’s cold it adds an odd layer of insulation that makes it feel warmer. That’s why weather apps have the temperature and the feels like next to it.
  4. We sell clothes for cold weather: Sure, you could find cold weather clothes in SF, but parkas and snow pants were a little tougher to find. Not a problem here. I’m really fond of the fleece lined jeans I got at Costco that when I mentioned them on FaceBook found out that they are available in the Bay Area, so I suggest you go get them right now if you don’t like cold. They’re super comfortable and a bit water resistant if you get any rain [which I understand you’re getting right now].
  5. We have to deal with it every year: It happens every year so we don’t mind spending $350/year to have someone come out twice a year to check our heating and AC. We have that extra money because the winter clothes are actually cheaper here and then, well everything here is a lot cheaper.
I bring the “cool” into cold weather.

I’ve actually been out clothes shopping a bit after doing a good job last winter, but fixing a few things I missed. I found a parka this year and some cool Wellington snow boots and a couple of hats to make me look like someone out of a pic of winter in Russia. This Sunday we’re going to get our first snow they’re saying and it could be up to a foot. We’re prepping our lawn area in front with snow spikes so when the city has their snow plows come by they won’t take out our curbs or lawn and we have a supply of ice melt to help with the driveway even though we have a young guy who comes and snow plows and cleans our driveway when it snows. I do have to get the snow tires put in the one of our cars, but I probably won’t need to drive that one until next week.

I took my daughter out for a drive this afternoon and while it’s only 35° out [which doesn’t seem bad after being here for a year and a half] I did notice lots of people out walking that were testing out their parkas for the coming weather. There were also the girls in their down jackets and leggings showing off their winter bods for the guys that was well appreciated of course.

Stay warm my friends and look in some out of the way places to help you find clothes to stay warm.