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Toyota just want's you to make sure you've got your jacket and mittens.
 

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My wife finally saw the snowflake symbol today and she provided this answer.

The symbol is not just a snowflake, so it is telling you more than "it's cold outside." The symbol also shows tapered lines on each side of the snowflake, which I think refers to a roadway.

Jokes aside, the symbol is yellow, so a caution is implied. My wife thinks this is telling us the road surface may be slippery, which is not a bad reminder to have when first dealing with cold weather driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the responses! I think MUGlover has the most plausible explanation. I was at the Toyota dealer yesterday, they didn't know!

(I did find the explanation of the warning light in the Owner's Manual. I was just surprised that it didn't tell me why I should care about the outside temperature being low.)
 

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low temp light

Leaving Faro, Yukon Territory on August 30 at 8 ayem we noticed a strange light on the dash. Research (by a passenger) indicated it is the low temperature warning light. Outside temp was -5 degrees Celsius. As we drove there was also a warning that flashed on the MFD concerning low temperature/icy conditions or some such.

The light went out when the outside temp reached 5 degrees Celsius.

Handy!

Duncan
 

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It just tells you that there may be ice on the road. I don't think it has anything to do with hybrid engine. My '97 BMW had the same feature.
 

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Our light came on, but went out when the car warmed up. It was late at
night so I assume the temperature did not go up. :)
 

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That's because sensor is in the car so when car is warm, it may report temperature higher than it actually is. It is connected to car chassis and measures air temperature around the car so when car is warn, it is obviously off.

BTW, measuring temperature of the air around moving object is non trivial task. For example, moving airplane heats up a lot. There is special methods that allow sensors to compensate for the airspeed and error caused by heated up body of the plane.
 

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My last non-Prius had a digital display and outside temp; once the car was "warmed up", it was almost always 3 degrees higher than the actual outside temp in any season.
 
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