The science behind wind chill


MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – News 5’s Caroline Carithers sat down with the National Weather Service’s Meteorologist In Charge, Jeff Medlin on the science behind wind chill, how it is calculated, and how it has affected our weather in the past several days.

Windchill, according to Medlin, is “The rate at which heat is being transferred from your body into the air above.” So, the higher the wind speed and colder the temperature, the more heat exits your body.

Wind chill is a function of temperature and wind speed. The higher the wind chill index (or further in the negative), the faster it takes for frostbite to occur.

The National Weather Service issues wind chill advisories if the wind chill index is between -10 degrees and 10 degrees. They issue a wind chill warning when the wind chill index is below -10 degrees.

You may have heard the News 5 First Alert Storm Team refer to “feels like” temperatures or “apparent” temperatures. These are general names for both wind chill and heat index and essentially mean the same thing.

In the past couple of days, our temperatures have been in the 30’s and 40’s. With wind speeds between 20 mph and 40 mph, the wind chill temperatures dropped into the 20’s. This is about 20 to 30 degrees below average for this time of year and is abnormal for this early in the year.

For a visual look at wind chill, check out the video.


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