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Weather IQ: What is the 'wind chill'?

Meteorologist Brittany Van Voorhees explains how wind chills are calculated and how this impacts you during the fall and winter months.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — You may have heard the phrase "it's colder with the wind," and that's true! Wind chills or feels-like temperatures can be calculated if the air temperature is 50° or below with a wind speed of at least 3 mph.

The wind chill is a mathematical calculation used to describe what the air temperature feels like on exposed skin due to the combination of cold temperatures and wind blowing.

Contact Brittany Van Voorhees at bvanvoorhe@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

If you want to have fun and calculate some wind chills at home, the formula is Wind chill (ºF) = 35.74 + 0.6215t - 35.75(v^0.16) + 0.4275t(v^0.16). A fun way to spend a few hours!

The bottom line is this: the colder the air and the higher the wind – the colder it’ll feel.

So, even if the air temperature remains the same, it’ll feel colder and colder as wind speeds increase. For example, a temperature of 15 degrees with a 15 mph wind will have a wind chill of zero.

🌩️ If you like weather, watch Brad Panovich and the WCNC Charlotte Weather Team on their YouTube channel, Weather IQ. 🎥


The science behind wind chill

We, as humans, naturally emit heat. As the wind blows across our bodies, it takes that heat and blows it away from us.

The faster the wind, the faster the heat is taken away.

Animals are also impacted by the wind chill, so be sure to take safety precautions for them, too.

The National Weather Service has an easy-to-understand wind chill chart to break down how cold it needs to be for health issues to begin.

Too much time exposed to a substantial wind chill can result in frostbite and even hypothermia.

Experts recommend internal layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, and warm clothing. Outerwear should be woven, water-repellent and hooded. Wear a hat, cover your mouth, and don’t forget to keep your hands warm, too!

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