Question What would the "feels like" temp. be on the boatdeeck 1-2am 4/15


James Murdoch

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Feb 1, 2021
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Hi. Massive Titanic enthusiast here. With advances in meterology we can now get a "feels like" temperature rather than the actual temperature on deck. Could anyone offer me a guesstimate at least as to what that would be that night? We lnow the water temp, but taking into account other factors like relative humidity, wind etc. what would be the actual "Feels like" temp. roughly be? It may help partially explain why passengers were so reluctant in the first 100 minutes to go out onto the boat deck....I thank you in advance for your answer. JWM.
 

Arun Vajpey

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'Feel like' temperature is very subjective but in general my guess is that with the ship stopped (at the timeframe you have mentioned) and no wind to speak of, it would feel cold but not uncomfortably so. There would not be the "wind chill factor" and so those clad warmly would feel theoretically comfortable but of course, those inadequately dressed would feel the chill more.

Given your time bracket of 01:00 am to 02:00 am, there would be other variables. At around 1 O'clock, the boat deck would be rather crowded and busy and so many probably would not feel the chill so much due to shared body warmth. Human nature being what it is, most, if not all people would hope to be rescued somehow, including some of those who realized the impossible logistics of the situation. As the hour progressed and lifeboats steadily lowered, denial would have receded and reality gradually dawned; then, depending on individual nature, people might feel the chill more or less. Anxiety would cause peripheral vasoconstriction and make one feel colder whereas those (like the Strausses for example) might have been more relaxed and accepted the inevitable. The latter kind very likely would have felt the chill less even if they had remained on the boat deck.
 
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James Murdoch

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Many thanks for your response. Exceptionally detailed and analytical. Yes it is a subjective measure, but good nonetheless. When the steam vented from the 3 funnels, would this have warmed the decks any as it travelled up through the pipes? Providing a source of heat? Thanks once again.
 

Arun Vajpey

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While I cannot be 100% certain, I doubt if this would have made much difference in terms of warmth. The funnels were quite high and the steam coming out of them would have quickly risen and dissipated in the surrounding air.

But I'd be happy to be corrected on this point.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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I'm sure it felt different for different people. The engineering crew that made it to the top must have been freezing after a short while coming from the warm/hot spaces below. I know some gave them their coats or whatever but I've never read where where the took the time to bundle up before going topside. Me personally being a cold weenie it would have zapped me hard. Probably no "Lucky Bags" aboard liners to grab some coats or such.
 
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Steve Dunham

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I agree with the other posters that, first, because the night was so still, there would have been essentially no wind chill and, second, different people would perceive the same temperature differently.

I recall how a few years ago an English coworker returned from a Christmas visit home. It had been cold there, he said: "It must have been zero every day."

"Zero!" I said. Then, "Wait. Are we talking about Fahrenheit or Celsius?"

"Celsius, of course."

To me, born in upstate New York, 32 Fahrenheit doesn't feel cold. At that temperature, I would wear only a T-shirt when chopping wood outside, and I probably would have been sweating if helping launch lifeboats in my shirtsleeves. To my Filipina wife, 32 is cold enough that she wants to stay inside. For the passengers and crew, I expect that they would have different feelings of the cold, but without wind they would have experienced it like any other still night at that temperature.
 
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Arun Vajpey

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Yes. Note that there were many Scandinavians on board the Titanic that night and they would probably feel quite comfortable out on the decks, being acclimatized to harsh winters. By contrast, there were several Lebanese passengers sharing Third Class accommodation with the Scandinavians; the Middle Easterners probably felt that it was very cold outside.
 
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Yes. Note that there were many Scandinavians on board the Titanic that night and they would probably feel quite comfortable out on the decks, being acclimatized to harsh winters. By contrast, there were several Lebanese passengers sharing Third Class accommodation with the Scandinavians; the Middle Easterners probably felt that it was very cold outside.
That is true Arun and Steve D. Climate acclimation is a real thing. Would have affected different passengers in different ways. I've been to Wyoming in the late fall. I would be dressed like Nanook of the North while the locals were in t-shirts. But in the situation of Titanic maybe the effects of adrenaline would have helped. I know I would have been juiced up on it in that scenario.
 

James Murdoch

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That is true Arun and Steve D. Climate acclimation is a real thing. Would have affected different passengers in different ways. I've been to Wyoming in the late fall. I would be dressed like Nanook of the North while the locals were in t-shirts. But in the situation of Titanic maybe the effects of adrenaline would have helped. I know I would have been juiced up on it in that scenario.
I feel the same as you regarding this, however with the deceiving calm up until 1.30-1.40 one may have have been lulled into a false sense of security and as the water rushed over the forecastle and onto the b/a deck i may have been paralysed by shock and fear. The "fight/flight response" would kick in id imagine...
 
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I feel the same as you regarding this, however with the deceiving calm up until 1.30-1.40 one may have have been lulled into a false sense of security and as the water rushed over the forecastle and onto the b/a deck i may have been paralysed by shock and fear. The "fight/flight response" would kick in id imagine...
Yes you are right about that as per the many reports of people believing that Titanic was unsinkable and not wanting to get in the boats at first. Then later when reality hit I'm sure the adrenaline was pumping. But by then not much they could about anything. Especially the flight response.
 

Arun Vajpey

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I feel the same as you regarding this, however with the deceiving calm up until 1.30-1.40 one may have have been lulled into a false sense of security
True and that sort of thing happens quite often in real life. Many passengers may really have believed the stewards' reassuring "It's all right, go back to bed" words early on and that probably contributed to the false sense of security for quite some time. We humans are like that - officialdom, especially in uniform, takes on an almost superhuman form in times of crisis and we want to believe that they can get us out of the situation even though common sense tells us that 'they' are just human beings like us and just as fallible.

But then maintaining some sort of order is required in that sort of situation and so professionalism and experience does help. The problem is that it is not always easy or straightforward to know where to draw the line to achieve a balance.
 
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Keith H

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It wouldn't be difficult for anyone to imagine how it was on deck on the Titanic this week in the winter ,one only has to open their front doors to feel the cold to realise that ..
To leave the warm lit comfort of cabins and public areas to go out on a cold deck with the thought of sitting in a open life boat on a dark sea would have been daunting for anyone ,no wonder they were in denial with what was going on when remembering at the early part of the disaster there was not much evidence to the passengers that anything dreadful had happened and with the stewards playing down the seriousness of the incident for fear of not wanting to spread alarm and panic would only reinforce the idea to stay inside and go back down below to the warm comfort of their cabins .
To get an idea of this when you are in bed this winter think of getting up in the middle of the night and sitting out in your garden to the early hours of the morning
 

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