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What is wind chill?

Strong wind makes the cold temperatures feel even colder to exposed skin.
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 4:26 PM CST
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QUAD CITIES, IA/IL (KWQC) - Monday was significantly colder and windier than what it was over the weekend, and you could certainly feel it the second you stepped outside.

Across the QCA, wind gusts were generally 30 to 50 mph. With air temperatures in the 20s and falling throughout the day, the temperature felt even colder to exposed skin due to the “wind chill.”

Wind chill is a factor for temperatures below 50° and for wind greater than 3 mph.

Our body is a heater and loses heat through convection. This means that heat tries to rise by escaping from our bodies through convection. When there is no wind, the heat tends to stay closer to you body, keeping you warmer. Therefore, if the air temperature is 20° with no wind, it will feel like 20°.

When there is just a little bit of wind, the moving air breaks up the warm layer near your body and leads to heat loss. This makes it feel cooler than it actually is.

Wind chill becomes a factor at this point. If the temperature is 20° with a 20 mph wind, the wind chill is 4°. This is what it actually feels like to humans’ and animals’ exposed skin.

Wind chill does not affect inanimate objects such as vehicles or plants.

Below is a look at the National Weather Service’s Wind Chill calculation chart.

From NOAA and the National Weather Service
From NOAA and the National Weather Service(NOAA)

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