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Think Today Is Cold? Been Kayaking In A Frozen Wetsuit In March In North Carolina?

Jenna McLaughlin (foreground) during the kayak trip.
Jenna McLaughlin

Baby it's cold outside. So cold that many schools across the state took a little extra time to warm up the school buses, and doors opened late. An N&O reporter went on a ride-along to with the Durham Rescue Mission to find people living in the woods.

It rarely gets this cold in here in the Carolinas, so we took to Twitter to see what people are saying.

Wait. What? We contacted Jenna McLaughlin and asked her to tell us the story behind the tweet. She says that a couple of years ago she was part of an outdoors program through Johns Hopkins University, and they came to North Carolina to kayak. It was March.

"That was the coldest I have ever been. I fell out of the boat," remembers McLaughlin. She wasn't in the water for long, but it was freezing.  She was drenched, and the group still had four or five more hours left on the water that day.

"We would get out of our boat to dance and jump around" to to try and keep the blood flowing, McLaughlin says, adding that some on the trip were trained to recognize the signs of hypothermia. They knew that shivering and talking were good signs.

Even worse than that original dunk in the water?

"Every morning you would wake up and your wetsuit would be frozen solid." 

How do you get back in to a wetsuit that is frozen solid?

"You just do."

McLaughlin now works in Washington, DC where lots of people are complaining about the cold. This morning she remembered that North Carolina trip:

Tell us your #ColdInCarolina story. Tweet or e-mail.

frozen water on a creek
Credit Doug Brown / Flickr/Creative Commons
Flickr/Creative Commons

Carol Jackson has been with WUNC since 2006. As Digital News Editor, she writes stories for, and helps reporters and hosts make digital versions of their radio stories. She is also responsible for sharing stories on social media. Previously, Carol spent eight years with WUNC's nationally syndicated show The Story with Dick Gordon, serving as Managing Editor and Interim Senior Producer.
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