Winter in Troy
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Well, winter will be here before we know it. It's never too early to prepare for it!
We realize that many of you have never been exposed to such harsh weather as we are expected to witness in the coming months, we've assembled some useful tips for you to keep in mind about winters in the Northeast, including here in Troy!
Get in the habit of listening to weather reports on the radio or TV.
The RPI Department of Public Safety has great information on their website to keep you updated as well when it comes to severe weather.
You can also check out the Weather Channel to stay informed!
Know how to dress
- Wear many layers of loose-fitting clothing as it ensures that there are pockets of air between the clothing that insulates your body from the cold. For example: undershirt, long sleeved shirt, sweater and a coat. For the lower half of the body, a long underwear will also keep you warm. Tight fitting pants do not keep you warm.
- If you haven't bought a heavy jacket yet, try to get one with a hood and one that comes below your hips. Down jackets and full-length are the warmest. If it has a nylon outer shell, it provides good protection from the wind. Wool is a good insulator but not effective against the wind. Leather is effective against the wind, but it is a poor insulator. If your coat doesn't have a hood, make sure it has a collar to protect your neck.
- Get gloves or mittens as they keep hands warm. We suggest that you have at least two pairs of gloves and/or mittens, in case you lose one!
- Get a hat! At least 60% of the heat lost by the body is through the head. When the wind blows your ears get very cold.
- Get a scarf. You can wrap it around your neck and face when the wind blows.
- Warm boots are another "must-wear" item. We've provided a picture of some good, heavy boots that would keep your feet warm in winter.
- Buy some silicon spray to help keep your boots and shoes waterproof. You can often find this at a shoe store or a discount store like Walmart and Price Chopper.
- Long underwear. This is often available for men, women and children in inexpensive, lightweight, and easy-to-wash cotton. Silk long underwear is both lightweight and warm, but is much more expensive.
- When dressing in the winter, remember that, while you certainly want to be warm, you don't put on so much you can't walk. (Remember....layer!) When you get inside your lab or classroom, take off your coat. Otherwise, when you go back outside it will not feel like your coat is helping you stay warm. Always bring your gloves or mittens.
- When you are walking keep your hands out of your pocket. If you slip and fall and your hands are in your pocket, they will not help you with your balance and you could really hurt your elbow along with other parts of your body.
Where to shop
Some of the large department stores in the mall can be expensive, but you should be able to get good-quality clothing at fairly inexpensive prices at the Walmart up on Hoosick Street. The Price Chopper, also located up in Hoosick Street, often offers small articles of clothing such as hats and mittens during the winter months.
Best times to shop
The best time to shop is during a sale. Many stores will have sale around various holidays (Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas). Right after Christmas (December 25) stores will have big sales because they want to get rid of their winter clothes to make room for incoming spring and summer clothes. But don't be fooled; January and Feburary are the coldest months of the year in this area.
Key words to look for when shopping for winter clothes
- Thinsulate -- A lightweight yet warm type of insulation.
- Down / Goose down -- Very warm, but often expensive.
- Fleece -- Warm material great for light jackets or sweatshirts. It does not absorb moisture, which is another good characteristic of this material.
- Waterproof -- This means that the garmet has been specially treated to repel water.
Take care of your car
- Try to keep your car's gas tank at least half full at all times.
- Keep the radiator filled with antifreeze/coolant.
- Keep the wiper reservoir filled with windshield fluid. Do not use water, because it freezes.
- Put dry-gas in your gas tank so your fuel line won't freeze up.
- Keep your car battery in good condition.
- Check your car's brakes, headlights and windshield wipers periodically.
- Many people keep a bag of cat litter or sand in the trunk of their car in case they get stuck in ice; either can be sprinkled under the tires to give you more traction.
- If your car starts to slide, turn the wheel slowly in the direction you want to go, and pump the brakes. Do not slam on the brakes, as doing so will cause you to slide more.
- Be careful walking or driving during the winter months, as you often you won't even see ice on the sidewalks or road. Called "black ice," this ice is thin and smooth and the light makes it shiny, so you don't notice it until you slide on it. Road reports often talk about "black ice".
- If you have to drive, always keep an ice scraper in your car so that you can scrape the snow and ice off your car windows. Clean your windows completely before you drive. You might also consider putting a broom and shovel in the trunk. Push the snow off the front hood so it doesn't blow onto the windshield while you're driving. In fact, it's often a good idea to brush all the snow off your car before you drive, and definitely make sure your headlights and tail-lights are clear of ice and snow. Start your car and let it warmup while you're brushing the snow off it.
- Keep a blanket and snacks in the trunk. If you are traveling with small children in your car, keep extra clothes and supplies -- such as baby food and diapers -- for them in case your get stranded someplace. If you slide into a ditch and are stranded in the car, you might have to wait for some time before help arrives.
- When driving, remember to allow a little extra distance between you and the car in front of you. If you have to stop quickly and the roads are slippery, having that extra distance in front of you could prevent you from being in an accident.
- Remember...everyone is a little nervous during the first couple of snowstorms while they adjust to winter weather!
- Watch for children. Many times when the weather is bad, youngsters put their heads down as they walk and forget to think about the traffic.
- If at possible, take the shuttle bus to run your errands, if you don't like driving in the snow.
- Remember that finding a parking spot becomes more difficult during the winter.
- Try to keep a supply of canned or dry food on hand in your apartment. That way, you won't have to go out for groceries if the weather is really bad.
- Keep in mind that just because the sun is out in the morning does not mean it will be out all day. The weather can be very unpredictable.
- Be aware that if the weather gets bad at the end of the day, Rensselaer staff members are concerned about getting home safely, so don't come into an office at the end of the day with a concern that can be taken care of anytime. The same thing is true on a morning when we have had a snow storm the night before; staff members might be a little late getting in because of road conditions. In severe cases, the Institute may be closed altogher due to the bad road conditions.
- Try skiing or snowboarding
- Go sledding at Frear Park. If you don't have a sled, use a metal tray or, if the snow is packed down hard enough, you could use part of a cardboard box!
- Make a snowman or a snow angel. If you don't know how, ask one of the staff members in the ISSS Office.
- Make a snowfort. A word of caution: If your children do make a tunnel or snowcave out of a snowdrift, please be careful! The cave could collapse on the child, and they could get hurt, or worse, not be able to breathe.
- Look closely at individual snowflakes and be amazed to see how each one is different from all of the others.
Our last words are: enjoy the weather! If you dress properly and take the right precautions, winter can be lots of fun!