Headed Outside? Check the Wind Chill First.

Very cold winter days are upon us. However, it isn't always the temperature that gives the air that nip. The "feel like" temperature is usually influenced by the wind as well. We call this the wind chill. This article will provide a quick background on wind chill and how you can access current wind chill data.

What is the wind chill?

When temperatures drop below 50 degrees F and wind speeds are greater than 5 mph, the "Feels Like" temperature is lower than the actual temperature. Wind chill can be computed two ways: 1) using the chart below, or 2) mathematically. As the wind increases and/or the temperature decreases, wind chill values decrease. This means that despite it being 0 degrees F on a very cold morning, when factoring in the wind (say 20 mph), it can feel like a much colder temperature (in this example -22 degrees F).

This colder "feel" temperature can not only make you feel chilled quicker, it can also lead to other problems such as frostbite much quicker. Estimations of frostbite issues at 0 degrees F with no wind is 30 minutes, while 0 degrees F and 55mph winds can cause it in less than 10 minutes when exposed. Wind chills can be determined by the following chart from the National Weather Service (found at http://live-ccms.pantheonsite.io/sites/default/files/windchillchart3.pdf):

Wind chill chart from the National Weather Service.


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