What is wind chill and how do meteorologists calculate it?


(WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Upstate NY is no stranger to cold temperatures and strong winds. During the winter months, we often experience temperatures below freezing which is already brutal on its own. With strong winds factored in, it can feel even more unbearable and can lead to serious health conditions.

When wind speeds are factored into those cold temperatures, we call the resulting temperature the wind chill or “feels like” temperature. The National Weather Service has a wind chill chart and wind chill calculator which you can use to determine what the wind chill will be in your area. When the wind chill drops very low, they may issue a Wind Chill Advisory or Wind Chill Warning.

A wind chill advisory is issued when widespread conditions of 0 degrees F or lower wind chills are expected to last for more than an hour. A wind chill warning is issued when widespread conditions of -15 degrees F or lower wind chills are expected to last for more than an hour.

Wind chills this low create concern for frostbite. Frostbite is the freezing of skin and the body tissue just beneath it. It first affects exposed body tissue where blood circulation may be limited such as your fingers, toes, nose, and ears. To minimize your risk of frostbite, make sure all body parts are well covered. When frostbite starts, the feeling is lost in the affected area and the frozen tissue will take on a white or pale appearance. If you suspect you are experiencing frostbite, hold the area closely against warm skin to return blood flow and warmth to the affected area.

For more science information you can follow Meteorologist Daniel Maslowski on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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