Friday, April 29, 2016

I've been shoveling, somewhat obsessively, to keep my driveway clear and braved the -6 degree temps this morning to make a sweep. (Truth Photo By Tim Vandenack)

The old-time thermometer indicated it was below zero when I went outside this morning to shovel, as did the more modern weather app on my cellphone. (Truth Photo By Tim Vandenack)
What's it like shoveling when it's 6 below zero? Just my thumbs felt it
Posted on Jan. 6, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 6, 2014 at 8:34 a.m.

Monday Jan. 6, 2014

My thumbs felt it first, below the mittens and gloves I was wearing.

The rest of me, though, seemed to do OK.

I just did another sweep of my driveway, getting the latest accumulation of snow off my drive. Yesterday, when the snow was really falling, cold wasn't an issue. It was a balmy 28 degrees and I worked up a sweat the umpteen times I (somewhat obsessively) shoveled. (No snow blower).

This morning, with the weather app on my cell phone reading -6 degrees (that is, 6 below zero), I suspected it wouldn't be so forgiving. So before heading out at about 7 a.m., I put on layers -- long johns, t-shirt, long-sleeve shirt, fleece coat, heavy pants, etc.

As I made the snow-removal sweep, though, it was mainly my thumbs, lonely in their mitten repositories, that felt it -- a slight stinging. Even that wasn't extreme, though, and the rest of me managed, though the occasional blast of cold air in my face nearly took my breath away.

Still, it's cold. When I took the glove and mitten off my right hand to take the pictures accompanying this post, my hand quickly became numbed. And I was only out there about 25 minutes, with the wind -- expected to really cool things off if and when it picks up -- relatively calm.

Stay safe out there.

Tim Vandenack is a reporter at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, Ind., Reach him at or 574-296-5884. Visit him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack.