Harsh weather conditions demand preparation


Comic by Sam Rush.

North Wind Staff

Part of a good Northern education is experiencing the beauty that nature has to offer. Unfortunately, this also means experiencing just how cruel the elements can be.

Recently, an NMU student traveled alone to the Yellow Dog River to take photographs. He was caught in a snowstorm, and never made it back to his car. His body was recovered on Sunday. This tragedy is a brutal reminder that nature is a force, not simply something beautiful to marvel at. It is very much alive and powerful, and for those who fail to prepare, it can be fatal.

As temperatures continue to sit at record lows, it’s more important than ever to stay warm and prepare for the weather. This means doing everything you can to plan ahead and ensure your safety.

If you’re planning on going outside, even for brief periods of time, it is important to dress warm and in layers. At the very minimum, you should have two layers on at all times. Also make sure to cover as much of your skin as possible. Long socks, gloves, scarves and hats are essentials. Hand warmers are also a cheap and easy option that will prevent your fingers from freezing.

Your feet are one of the places on your body that heat can escape the fastest, so it’s important to make sure you’re wearing the right socks and shoes. Socks should be long and ideally wool. Boots are the only good choice when going through deep snow. When on cleared sidewalks, shoes should be insulated and water proof. Anything you can do to prevent snow getting inside your shoes and melting is advisable. Stay away from mesh shoes, and especially sandals.

If you’re planning on hiking out to one of Marquette’s nature spots, do not go alone. Always bring someone with you; traveling in a group is the best way to ensure each other’s safety. Also, keep away from the locations that expose you to running water. Getting wet in these temperatures can induce hypothermia and even cause death. If you do get wet, strip all the wet clothes off your body. Your chances of survival are improved, as wet clothing will conduct heat away from your body faster than cold skin.

Mother Nature is unforgiving. She does not give second chances. Be smart, stay safe and stay warm.