What is a “Wind Chill Factor?”


That’s not a question we often have to ask in Houston, but the Arctic Blast that has besieged the Bayou City has not only sent temperatures plummeting, it’s also bringing a wind chill factor that we have to factor into our plans.

We always get a couple days in winter when winds kick up during the odd cold day, and we make reference to the “feels like” temperature.  It’s just usually not this intense.

Weather Channel meteorologist Mark Elliott says our bodies radiate the internal heat produced by our warm blood, and that’s how we interact with our environment on any given day.  “Think of it like a heat bubble. This heat that your body is producing envelopes your body, but once the wind kicks it starts getting scoured away,” he suggests.  It’s like a Brillo pad scouring the warmth right off your skin.  “So when that heat bubble is gone, your body is working even harder to keep that same temperature. It makes you feel like it’s colder outside than it actually is,” Elliott explains.

The Wind Chill Factor is actually an index weather professionals use that combine the outside temperature with the speed of the wind.  There is no instrument that measures for wind chill.

You have probably figured this out by this point in your life, but the best way to accommodate a wind chill factor is to dress in layers.  That traps your body heat, repeatedly, closer to your skin.


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