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Ask Todd: Wind chill

11:59 PM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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Tonya Michelle Freeman asks: "How is wind chill calculated?"

Wind chill is a term we're hearing a lot right now. That's basically the "feels like" temperature.

In layman's terms, wind chill combines the temperature and the wind speed. On the more technical side, the National Weather Service also incorporates heat transfer theory and heat loss from the body into the formula.

So what does that mean to all of us right here in East Tennessee?

An air temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind speed of four miles per hour equals out to a wind chill temperature of 26 degrees.

Here's what happens when things get colder and the wind gets stronger-- an air temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind speed of 10 miles per hour equals out to a wind chill temperature of negative four degrees.

That's a little closer to what they're feeling up in Chicago right now. Temperatures started near or below zero on Tuesday. Wind chills were as low as 20 degrees below zero. Those who had to go outside piled on layers of clothing to try and stay warm. This day is going down as the coldest day Chicago has seen in two years.

And remember, even though the chill is given as a temperature, it's not really a different kind of temperature.

Low wind chill numbers shouldn't keep you from going out, but they should encourage you to dress properly.

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