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Weather Academy: What is wind chill?

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 10:58 AM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - We are talking about wind chill this week on the Weather Academy. It’s a term that you typically hear us talk about on cold and windy mornings or just days in general when it’s going to be breezy. But do you really know what wind chill is? Let’s dive into it!

Our body loses heat in a process that we call convection. This is just the transfer of heat, typically through a fluid. But in this sense, we’ll think of the atmosphere or the air around us as that fluid. When there is no wind, and it’s just cold outside, that nice heat that’s being transferred into the atmosphere, or our liquid in a sense, is just surrounding our body. So we have this layer of heat that is around us. And this is what helps to keep us warm when it’s cold outside. And again, this is no wind. So when it’s 20 degrees, it will actually feel like 20 degrees. Hopefully, you’ll be bundled up, but you’ll want to be bundled up, especially if it’s cold and also windy.

When you factor in 20 MPH winds, that warm layer surrounding your body is now being broken up by the wind. It’s being pushed away in the direction that the wind is going. Therefore you’re losing heat a lot quicker from your body, making it feel much colder. So when you have these 20 MPH winds, and it’s 20 degrees outside, it’s more likely to feel like it is four degrees. So on these mornings, when it’s cold and it’s windy, make sure to throw on extra layers, maybe a bigger jacket, and you may need some gloves and even a hat. Typically we don’t have a lot of cold and windy mornings here in Louisiana, unlike the plains, where they see a lot of that wind. But on occasion, we definitely do get that.

The wind chill is the temperature that it feels like outside to our body when we factor in the wind with how cold the air temperatures are. Thank you for joining me on this weather Academy segment. I hope you’ll join in next week to see what fun new exciting things we’ll be talking about.

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