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Wind Chill


The wind chill index describes an equivalent temperature at which the heat loss from exposed flesh would be the same if the wind were near calm. For example, a wind chill index of -5 indicates that the effects of wind and temperature on exposed flesh are the same as if the air temperature were 5 degrees below zero even though the actual temperature is much higher.

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The NWS Windchill Temperature (WCT) index uses advances in science, technology, and computer modeling to provide an accurate, understandable, and useful formula for calculating the dangers from winter winds and freezing temperatures. The index:

• Calculates wind speed at an average height of 5 feet, the typical height of an adult human face, based on readings from the national standard height of 33 feet, typical height of an anemometer

• Is based on a human face model

• Incorporates heat transfer theory: heat loss from the body to its surroundings, during cold and breezy/windy days

• Lowers the calm wind threshold to 3 mph

• Uses a consistent standard for skin tissue resistance

• Assumes no impact from the sun, i.e., clear night sky ().

The importance of the wind chill index is as an indicator of how to dress properly for winter weather. (Wind chill does not affect your car’s antifreeze protection, freezing of water pipes, etc.) In dressing for cold weather an important factor to remember is that entrapped insulating air warmed by body heat is the best protection against the cold. Consequently, wear loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Outer garments should be tightly-woven, water-repellant and hooded. Mittens snug at the wrist are better protection than fingered gloves.

To use the chart, find the approximate temperature on the top of the chart. Read down until you are opposite the appropriate wind speed. The number which appears at the intersection of the temperature and wind speed is the wind chill index.

Check out the calculator for any temperature below the temperature maps …

 Windchill Calculator:

Air Temperature  
Wind Speed 

Windchill Temperature:

Windchill Temperature is only defined for temperatures at or below 50°F and wind speeds above 3 mph. Bright sunshine may increase the windchill temperature by 10°F to 18°F.

Much of the information in consists of material from the National Weather Service, which is in the public domain. As required by 17 U.S.C. § 403, third parties producing copyrighted works consisting predominantly of the material appearing in NWS Web pages must provide notice with such work(s) identifying the NWS material incorporated and stating that such material is not subject to copyright protection. | Traffic on Twitter


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