We are getting into the cooler part of the year and eventually we will experience some colder wind chill readings throughout eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. The current forecast is looking mild into the weekend, but we know the cold will return soon as we push into late November and December.
What is the wind chill temperature?
The wind chill — or “feels like” — temperature is a temperature designed to show how cold a person or animal will feel when outside in the cold. It is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold.
When wind blows across your skin, it will draw heat from your body. This will pull down your skin temperature, as well as your internal body temperature, depending on the time exposed.
The air is not any colder with a feels like/wind chill temperature than the actual temperature outside. It just feels colder to your body as the heat is pulled from your skin or body.
The wind chill temperature is only used for temperatures at or below 50° F and wind speeds above 3 mph. Sunshine could increase the wind chill temperature a little in a range from 10° F to 19° F.
The wind chill does not make any object colder. In fact, the air temperature does not change because of the wind.
Wind is created due to the density difference between warm and cold air. That difference creates higher or lower pressure, which then causes a gradient of wind. The wind then moves the warm or cold air. But that’s another weather lesson for another day!
The wind may blow in colder or warmer air but it does not actually change the air temperature.
For example, a car radiator will not get colder than the actual air temperature because it is moving down the road at a fast speed. It may cool to the air temperature faster but it won’t get colder than the actual air temperature.
However, if you stick your head out the window, you will feel colder because the heat is being pulled from your skin. I would not advise that in these frigid cold temperatures.
How is the wind chill temperature calculated?
According to the National Weather Service, the wind chill temperature is calculated using the following formula:
Windchill (ºF) = 35.74 + 0.6215T – 35.75(V^0.16) + 0.4275T(V^0.16)
Where: T = Air Temperature (F)
V = Wind Speed (mph)
^ = raised to a power (exponential)
SIGNS OF HYPOTHERMIA
The NWS says hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls below 95° F. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion.
If you see signs of hypothermia, get medical attention immediately. If you can’t get help quickly, begin warming the body slowly.
Warm the body core first, not the extremities. Warming extremities first drives the cold blood to the heart and can cause the body temperature to drop further, which may lead to heart failure.
If you are helping someone else with hypothermia, get the person into dry clothing and wrap them in a warm blanket. Be sure to cover their head and neck.
Do not give the person alcohol, drugs, coffee or any hot beverage or food. Warm broth and food are better.
About 20% of cold-related deaths occur in the home. Young children under the age of 2 and the elderly over 65 years old are most susceptible to hypothermia.
Hypothermia can set in over a period of time. Keep the thermostat above 69° F, wear warm clothing, eat food for warmth, and drink plenty of water or fluids other than alcohol and caffeine to keep hydrated.
Avoid alcohol because it will lower your body temperature.