Here’s Why Cold Weather Feels Colder In LA. And No, It's Not Just In Your Head
Between the atmospheric rivers and the ongoing cold, Angelenos are chillier these days than we’re accustomed to. Some of our more sarcastic Midwest or East Coast kinfolk might like to make jokes at our expense — “Oh, did it get down to 50 degrees? Better bundle up!” — but the truth is, colder temperatures in Southern California do in fact feel cooler than the same temperature in a crisper climate.
Also, history. Take heed:
If you’ve ever woken up on a chilly L.A. day and decided it was simply not possible to remove your body from bed, you’re not alone — and there’s a reason. Most California residences weren’t insulated prior to 1974, having been built under the assumption that none was needed due to the Golden State’s temperate climate.
Building codes and regulations have since been updated and will continue to be, but not all structures have been retrofitted. That means that unlike our fellow Americans in colder parts of the country, many of our homes are basically planks of wood held up by chewing gum and a prayer.
Similarly, state requirements for windows’ ability to insulate — known as the U-factor — has changed over the years as legislators update Title 24, the same bill that regulates other insulation factors. But the same problem applies; older buildings aren’t always retrofitted, meaning the breeze you feel seeping in from the other side of the glass is quite real.
Okay, here’s the truth. Research shows that the human body does in fact acclimate to warmer or colder temperatures very quickly; like, within 10-20 days. That means folks who live in L.A. are simply less accustomed to cold weather, and so it feels more chilly.
But — and this is a big but — acclimatization happens so fast that anyone who travels to a warmer climate would start to experience, say, 50 degrees as pretty darn frosty within about a week, give or take.
What does this mean? It means the most important question at hand has been resolved: your friends and family who live in colder areas aren’t any tougher than you. They’ve just… well, they’ve made their choices.
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