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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.

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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.

Comments

berkman 5 years, 3 months 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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toe 5 years, 3 months ago

I have a lot of respect for anyone that works for a living. But I have more than the usual for anyone that works outside in both extreme cold and heat.

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redmoonrising 5 years, 3 months 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.

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riverdrifter 5 years, 3 months 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. . . http://www.allthingsarctic.com/detail.aspx?ID=679BTW, beware of $200 knockoffs from China on eBay. Trash.

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Defender 5 years, 3 months ago

I used to do custom caninet installation in brand new, high end homes. 95% of them did not have heat yet, and it got darned cold in the winter! Ever sat down on a marble floor in 10 degree weather for an hour or two?Still, those TRULY outside have it a lot worse with the wind. At least all I had to do in the wind was carry the cabinets inside. Sure, some of these homes had dozens of cabinets, and we were a two man team. But you would be surprised how fast you can haul heavy oak cabinets when the wind chill is less than zero!

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SusieCreamcheeze 5 years, 3 months 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.

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J2od 5 years, 3 months ago

Berkman, do you work at McMurda Station?

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labmonkey 5 years, 3 months 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.

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macon47 5 years, 3 months ago

it is kansas, it is januaryit gets cold every yeargrow up and get a life

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beobachter 5 years, 3 months ago

berkman, why do I think you are a phony liar?

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allateup 5 years, 3 months ago

berkman......you poor B@st@rd!

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Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 3 months 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....

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 3 months ago

And don't forget about the city sanitation workers who get up early and have to muck around town. I do have empathy for the city workers who work outside. Now when the weather gets warmer, there may be a tad bit too many hanging around on the job sites.

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bndairdundat 5 years, 3 months ago

When I was child in the last ice age I had to walk to school 40 miles each way uphill in -40 degree weather through 12 ft. snow drifts, milk 60 cows twice a day and work at Allen's Drive In until 2:00AM every day. You young whippersnappers today don't know how good you got it!

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 3 months ago

And I'm here at the church, 11 degrees outside, no wind thinking, ya know, it's kinda chilly here so close to the window, maybe I should move my chair back to the other side.(hangs head in spoiled-Lawrence-child chagrin)

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fearsadness14 5 years, 3 months 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!

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berkman 5 years, 3 months 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.

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spankyandcranky 5 years, 3 months 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.

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