Science behind wind chill

Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 11:57 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2023 at 12:26 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - You have probably heard the phrase uttered, “it wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the wind.”

There is some truth to that with science to back it up.

It is called wind chill.

Basically, it is the “feels-like” temperature when you factor in the wind speed.

Our body loses heat through what’s called “convection,” which is the process of losing heat through the movement of air.

If the wind is light, there is no air to move the heat away from your body, so the heat stays closer to the skin to help keep us warmer. For example, if the temperature is 20 with no wind, the wind chill, or feels-like temperature, would be 20°.

Add in a little bit of wind, that moving air breaks up the warm air leading to a quicker loss of heat making the body feel much colder.

If you have that same 20° temperature with a wind of 20 mph, the feels-like temperature is 4°.

Below is a look at the wind chill chart from the National Weather Service, which shows how much time it takes for frostbite to set in at certain wind chills.

Click here for the latest First Alert Forecast.