Archive for Thursday, January 15, 2009

Outdoor workers brave bone-chilling cold

Bitter cold plagues outdoor workers; warmer weather on way

The bone-chilling temperatures are keeping most people inside...but for some, that's not an option.

January 15, 2009, 12:26 p.m. Updated January 15, 2009, 5:15 p.m.


Elementary School children make designs while stopping at Pinckney Elementary School to unload on Thursday. Temperatures were in the single digits, giving Lawrence the coldest day this year.

Elementary School children make designs while stopping at Pinckney Elementary School to unload on Thursday. Temperatures were in the single digits, giving Lawrence the coldest day this year.

6 Weather Morning Forecast for January 16, 2009

Sunny and cold, with a high of 30 and a low of -4. Enlarge video

Despite bitter cold temperatures and wind chills below zero, some people had little choice but to be out in the frigid elements Thursday.

Construction crews worked high in the air Thursday morning as they built a new student housing development near 31st Street and Ousdahl Road. Project superintendent Albert Huff said dressing in layers is key to surviving the cold weather.

“It slows us down; we kind of have to take a break every so often, warm back up and go at it again,” said Huff, who was wearing five layers of clothing. He said air compressors and nail guns wouldn’t work because it was so cold.

City utility crews responded to any waterline issues in the city, including a problem near Seventh Street and Monterey Way that left frozen water along the street. They also checked to make sure fire hydrants throughout Lawrence weren’t frozen, especially in areas near schools and the hospital, a worker said.

Police, firefighters and sanitation crews are among other city workers who have to work out in the cold.

Police officers are provided heavy jackets and stocking caps to keep warm during extreme temperatures, said Sgt. Bill Cory. They also receive more frequent breaks when required to be outside in cold temperatures for a long period of time.

Students at Kansas University also returned back to work Thursday, braving the temperatures as they made their way between classes after winter break.

“It’s pretty freezing,” said Lydia Gibson, a Prairie Village junior. “It’s pretty much all you can do to really keep yourself warm, especially up on the hill when that wind gusts up; it’s pretty cold.”

Temperatures are expected to remain cold today, and there could be a few morning snow flurries, 6News meteorologist Matt Elwell said. South winds will then take over, driving temperatures up to around 30 degrees this afternoon and into the teens tonight.

Warmer temperatures are expected by the weekend, with a high of 38 on Saturday, he said.

“It’s going to feel tropical to us,” Elwell said.


spankyandcranky 9 years ago

I thought construction workers didn't have to work when temperatures reached below freezing. Guess I was wrong. The police and firefighters have to always be available, though. And what about the people who deliver our mail? We should thank them all whenever we see them.

berkman 9 years ago

Right now I'm working at the South Pole where then current temp is -21.8F with a -43.6 windchill. Our construction, cargo, fuel, and fire fighter workers work outside all day/night. Even when it is -75F we are there. You just have to dress right, take plenty of breaks, and eat more high calorie foods. Some of us eat as much as 5000 calories a day just to have the fuel to burn while in the cold.

fearsadness14 9 years ago

Im at school here at st. olaf college in northfield, minnesota. I woke up to go to class this morning to a -32 air temp and a -42 windchill. Locals around here just put on layers and keep their heads down. It's amazing how cold our planet can be. It is also remarkable that we will have a 60 degree turnaround in temperature in the next few days, and it will still be below freezing!

Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years ago

hawkperchedatriverfront wrote "I do have empathy for the city workers..." but prior posts on other threads seem to indicate the hawk has little empathy for any public sector employees of any kind....

allateup 9 years ago poor B@st@rd!

labmonkey 9 years ago

Looking at that picture of the kids on the bus reminds me of when we would play "freeze out" when it got cold. This basically entailed everyone (or at least enough people to make it painful) pulling down their window while the bus was moving full speed.

J2od 9 years ago

Berkman, do you work at McMurda Station?

SusieCreamcheeze 9 years ago

I miss Allens Drive Inn....Glad I have carharts to wear to muck stalls in the winter and a new dry barn to work in.

riverdrifter 9 years ago

If Berkman is on the level, he probably owns a Snow Mantra. I've still got mine from my 2 years spent on Great Lakes freighters but it's of no use here even in "cold" Kansas weather such as this. I wore it on a mile walk to the post office last night and got boiled out of it. Back in the closet it goes. . ., beware of $200 knockoffs from China on eBay. Trash.

Sharon Aikins 9 years ago

Man, I was lucky. I only had to walk 4 blocks to school in subzero temps. Still, I know I survived it only because I am sitting here today. But if you walk past any snowdrifts in the upper midwest, keep a look out for my poor, tiny, frozen body. I'm sure it's still there somewhere. Each day I cursed my mom for not learning how to drive and my dad for having to go to work. Would I ever want to work outdoors in this or even unheated new constrution? I'm crazy but not that much! To me the worst would be riding around on the back of a trash truck or delivering mail in these temps. Makes me appreciate more the people, including police and firefighters, who risk it all to serve me no matter what the weather.

berkman 9 years ago

I have been working for Raytheon Polar Services since September 31st. I am on a 4.5 month contract at McMurdo Station and I am spending 4 weeks of that at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. I'm not pulling anyone's chain here.

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