COLD: \ˈkōld\adjective, having or being a temperature that is uncomfortably low for humans; not heated.
Now having experienced the depth of Urumqi winters - we find the above Webster's definition an inadequate description. We have found there to be variations of this uncomfortable predicament. Here is our expanded definition:
1. COLD: 50 to 35 degrees F; this is when jackets/sweatshirts become necessary, headgear is optional and when appropriately dressed there are no hindrances. Snow can fall, but never stays for long. This can make for a pleasant winter, full of family outings and strolls in the park. This is all we knew before we moved here to northwest China.
2. VERY COLD: 34 to 15 degrees F; proper attire is necessary to assure comfort & ease of movement. Earmuffs, scarves, long-johns & gloves are all important when endeavoring outside for any length of time. Hindrances still exist, but are quite manageable. Snow falls, and sticks. This temperature can make for a beautiful winter when endured for the appropriate amount of time (less than 1 month).
3. BITTER COLD: 14 to -5 degrees F; proper attire is now essential for survival. Covering as much skin as possible is highly desirable when exposed for long lengths of time. Transportation is slow and difficult. In our case: be prepared to wait for extended periods of time for a taxi, or squeeze on a crowded bus of people huddling together for warmth. Snow falls in large flakes, and any liquid quickly becomes ice. While not impossible, going out is challenging at best (without a car) and bundling children up requires significant motivation (for all involved). The picture below shows how condensation build-up froze overnight. And yes, this is indoors!!
4. BONE CHILLING COLD: -5 to -30 degrees F (and below); there is no such thing as proper attire. As the name suggests, cold finds its way thru any fibers to grip your bones and turn what should be a casual stroll or trip to the market into a survival experience. All forms of transportation are undesirable. Leaving the comfort of your warm house (if is it still warm) is only attempted under the most necessary circumstances. Blinking often is necessary so that your eyeballs don't freeze. In our part of the world, when it is bone-chilling cold - one buys hot nan bread to stick in your jacket as you walk. We might eat it later. A redeeming beauty of this otherwise dire situation, is the frosted trees glistening with ice crystals and the hot tea waiting for you at home.
Finally WARM - enjoying some hot tea, popcorn & a good book in my comfy chair.
2 great Weather Forecast sites: AccuWeather & Yahoo Weather