What is wind chill and how does the National Weather Service calculate it?

The wind chill is the temperature it feels like outside and is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the effects of wind and cold.

As the wind increases...the body is cooled at a faster rate causing the skin temperature to rapidly drop.

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The National Weather Service would issue a wind chill advisory when wind chill temperatures are potentially hazardous. A wind chill warning is issued when wind chill temperatures are life threatening.

The chart the NWS uses shows that as the wind increases and the temperature decreases, the wind chill can get dangerous fast.

If you head outdoors in bitterly cold weather:

  • Wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing - trapped air between the layers will actually insulate you
  • Outer garments should be water repellent and hooded
  • Wear a hat - 40 percent of your body heat can escape from your head
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs
  • Mittens, which are snug, are a better option than gloves
  • Stay dry and out of the wind

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