So how cold is it?

Coming from New Zealand where we use Celsius to measure temperature it has taken me a long time to get use to thinking in Fahrenheit, (let alone feet, pounds and quarts!)

The Fahrenheit scale was invented back in 1796 and was superseded by the Celsius scale by most countries except the United States, Cayman Islands and Belize (wikipedia).

To me the Celsius scale makes more sense, water freezes at 0C, boils at 100C (or close to it depending on atmospheric pressure) but then again I grew up with that scale. Back in New Zealand I knew single digits were cold, twenties were nice, anything over thirty was hot, if you were crazy enough to live in Australia it would get into the forties.

Me and the flies in the Desert heat of the Outback, Australia

I guess you grow up associating the number behind a particular temperature with an expectation of what to expect should one venture outside. Moving to the States threw that out the window somewhat. After living here for two years I now know I need air conditioning if it’s in the nineties, I’ll be fine wearing a T-shirt in the seventies and that I should put an extra layer on and break out the hand warmers if it gets below thirty!

Best to put on another layer

If you are good at maths it is not that hard to convert temperatures between the two scales, just use this ‘simple’ equation.

Tf = (9/5)*(Tc+32)

Tc = (5/9)*(Tf-32)

One of my favourite weather sites is, it provides a good six day forecast for any resort you can think of and I’ve found it to be pretty accurate. It has a neat feature where you can change between metric and imperial measurements giving you both Celsius and Fahrenheit. Also here’s a table to help give you an idea of different temperatures on each scale.

°F Description
100 212 Water boils
40 104 Hot Bath
37 98.6 Body temperature
30 86 Beach weather
21 70 Room temperature
10 50 Cool Day
0 32 Freezing point of water
-18 0 Very Cold Day
-40 -40 Extremely Cold Day (and the same number!)
(bold are exact)

Interestingly the only time the two scales intersect is at -40C/-40F, I hope I never get to find out just how cold that is, at least not here in Mammoth! Whilst I’m talking about measurements, and don’t get me started about miles and kilometers, I’d like to know why we measure skis in the US in centimeters and everything else in inches?

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