Although only professionals with the right equipment and purpose should be exposed to an arctic winter, sometimes the jet stream will drop and deliver temperatures from the top of the world to the countries of the Northern Hemisphere. This article will describe what is needed in order to survive such conditions.
Since the average temperature in the arctic is around -34 F, surviving the cold weather comes first. Without proper shelter, insulating materials, and proper heating supplies, one is likely to freeze to death before anything else. Concerning adequate supplies, food stores are essential as there are very little animals active in these extreme temperatures. Most large predators either migrate or hibernate during this time, and their prey takes a similar route. Fortunately water is easier to obtain, as one typically has a constant supply of snow and ice that can be melted.
Due to the permafrost in the soil, all shelter possibilities are limited to above ground structures. However, one should remember that above ground isn’t necessarily above snow, which will serve as an excellent insulating agent between your shelter and the outside air. Because of this reason, it is possible to maintain temperatures above freezing (up to 60 plus degrees) easily while negative temperatures exist in the air because the snow surrounding this shelter is at freezing.
Because there are no trees in the arctic, shelters are likely to be constructed of synthetic materials, ice, or fur and bones of larger animals killed before winter’s onset. The inside of these shelters should be heated with a fire if possible, or simply well insulated on the bottom, walls, and ceiling to minimize heat exchange from the inside to the outside.
For anyone merely experiencing the frigid temperatures much further south, remember to limit tissue exposure to the cold air, as frostbite can occur within minutes in temperatures around -40 degrees. It is also important to protect water pipes in homes by leaving a drip in the water line at a faucet outlet, as this act keeps water moving through the line. A broken water pipe not only creates a break in water supply, but also can cause very serious structural damage to a home and is very dangerous to fix in cold conditions.
After food, water, shelter conditions, playing it safe and being careful are the next best pieces of advice when trying to survive an arctic or arctic-like winter.