Hi blog readers! It is 27ºF (-3ºC) in Minneapolis right now. We had a pretty cold and gusty day today. The highest temperature was only 37ºF (3ºC)...I know, I know...it is November in MINNESOTA! I grew up in the moderate climate, and have moved multiple times, but not to cold regions like Minnesota. All I did when I moved to Minnesota to prepare for winter was buying a 4-wheel drive car (which is VERY important for me to drive in snow and ice!). Let me introduce you several "MN winter" things that I have learned.
A garage (or roofed parking) makes my life much easier
In my first place in Minnesota, I did not have a garage. I parked my car in outside parking lots. In winter, we sometimes (often) have inches of snow over night. When I started my car in the morning, I had to spend 15-30 minutes to clean up snow covering up my car! Not only snow, cars get icy in the windows. I learned to keep a brush and an ice scraper in my car through winter. Later I moved, and having a garage (ideally heated) was the must.
Double windows or window seals to keep cold air out
Only one layer of the window is not always enough to avoid cold air coming into the room. Many people installed double layer windows in their houses, but old houses are likely to have cranky windows. If you rent a room or house (more likely for students) with not tight windows, you can buy window seals (something like a huge plastic wrap) and seal the whole window from inside. Installing the seal is not too hard and does not take much time.
Face mask! - Even if you are covered up, your face is cold!
Seriously, I had never seen people wearing a face mask in their daily lives. I do skiing, so I had seen skiers wearing a face mask. When I saw a person walking in a face mask on the street for the first time, I was shocked. ...not any more though. The air is painfully cold in winter and I have thought about buying a mask several times (although did not happen yet). I've seen tough joggers wearing a face mask, too!
Living in a house = You have to plow snow.
My husband and I used to live in an apartment, but moved in a house when our child was born. We knew that living in a house means we have to mow the lawn in summer and plow snow in winter...but we did not realize how hard it could be. Last winter (our first winter since moving in the house), we had very heavy snow. We did not have a snow blower (electric or gas) yet. On the first snowy weekend, my husband spent a literally whole day just digging, digging, and digging snow from 8am to 4pm! One of our neighbors noticed my husband's hard work, probably felt sorry, and finally came by with his snow blower to help him. My husband and I learned that we need a snow blower to survive winter.
It is hard to get these little tips to survive Minnesota winter when you are not living here, but I promise you will get them soon once you start your life here!