What is a Wind Chill?

This is a good day to review what the term “wind chill” means, and the best source is the National Weather Service.

Here’s what they say:

What is wind chill temperature?

The wind chill temperature is how cold people and animals feels when outside. Wind chill is base on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold. As the wind increases, it draws heat from the body, driving down skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature. Therefore, the wind makes it FEEL much colder. If the temperature is 0 degrees F and the wind is blowing at 15 mph, the wind chill is -19 degrees F. At this win chill temperature, exposed skin can freeze in 30 minutes.

Can wind chill impact my car’s radiator or exposed water pipe?

The only effect wind chill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to shorten the amount of time for the object to cool. The inanimate object will not cool below the actual air temperature. For example, if the temperature outside is -5F and the wind chill temperature is -31F, then your car’s radiator will not drop lower than -5F.

Dress for Safety

The best way to avoid hypothermia and frostbite is to stay warm and dry indoors and outdoors. When you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Trapped air between the layers will insulate you. Remove layers to avoid sweating and chill.Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded. Wear a hat because much of your body heat can be lost from your head. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves. Try to stay dry and out of the wind.

Does wind chill apply only to people and animals?

Yes, wind chill only applies to people and animals. The only effect wind chill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to more quickly cool the object to the air temperature. The object will NOT cool below the actual air temperature.

photo: Getty Images

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