It’s widely agreed upon that Zombies don’t fare well in the extreme cold, such as in a freezer, snow storm, or climates like the Arctic or high mountainous regions. But what disadvantages do Zombies actually face in cold weather, and is it worth it for survivors to flee to colder climates?
In harsh enough cold weather conditions, the bodies of all Zombie types (excepting ghouls like those from Dead Snow) will quickly stiffen and become incapable of moving much, if at all. But that doesn’t always mean that the danger is gone. Sometimes it’s just hiding beneath the snow.
(Viral Type 1, Chemical Zombies)
Lacking both blood flow and thermoregulation (the ability to keep body temperature stable), these creatures are at a major disadvantage when it comes to winter weather. This, combined with low to no protection from the elements, and a complete disregard for personal welfare, often leads these types of Zombies to become stiff and still when the mercury drops to freezing.
Research shows that while subzero temperatures are capable of destroying some types of bacteria and disease, many of them simply lie dormant and await the opportunity for thaw. These “sleeping” organisms remain unchanged and unharmed by the cold, and will be just as dangerous as before, once the cold weather has subsided. These icy Zombie-pops simply lie in wait until the weather warms enough for them to move again, and when that happens these animated creatures will continue their relentless pursuit of Human flesh.
When you’re dealing with Undead Zombies you’ll have to be extra careful in the spring as the thaw sets in. It’s easy to walk past a pile of leaves, debris, or snow, only to find yourself in the grasp of a Zombie that is hungry for a meal after a long winter under ice.
Not only are the Zombies themselves dangerous, but their infectious substances are as well, and with the thaw turning into runoff and potentially contaminating water and food sources, you’ll want to take precautionary measures whenever you can.
Vodoun Zombies, like usual, are at a major sociological disadvantage. Despite the fact that this living Zombie type is not truly a danger to anyone, they are often shunned and neglected by their communities. This, combined with their poor ability for self care and awareness, can quickly lead to their true and final death at the hands of freezing temperatures. Luckily for this Zombie type, they are typically found in more tropical and hot weather climates where the cold is less of an issue than their complicated sociological status.
These Zombie types present no danger of infection or spread during a thaw, and their bodies should be safe to handle is needed.
Type 2 Viral Zombies have plenty of natural blood flow and adequate thermoregulation to keep them going in cold weather. But, like the Undead Zombie types previously mentioned, Type 2 Viral Zombies have complete disregard for their welfare, and would likely be blind to taking any necessary steps towards self-preservation.
This lack of personal awareness can truly send this Zombie type to the grave when freezing weather or other extreme conditions are involved. But, just like their Undead counterparts, it’s likely that the virus, lain dormant all winter, would simply reanimate with the thaw. This could cause untold damages to water and food sources, not to mention any survivors that get too close when they happen upon the hosts body.
In Conclusion: Each of these Zombie types are affected by the cold, though all but one of them continue to present dangers throughout their stasis and/or thaw. While this allows an opportunity for those living in mountainous regions and colder climates to more easily escape the jaws of a Zombie horde, it also only buys them time. With warmer weather on the way just about everywhere you go, there will always be a time of thaw. And when the thaw comes, so do the Zombies and/or their contaminates.
When considering cold climate escape from Zombies, you have to remember that you too have to stay warm to stay alive… otherwise you’ll end up like all the folks you left behind, just a little colder in the end.