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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published January 25 2013

Weather Talk: Wind chill factor in winter is often misunderstood

It has been a week of cold winter wind. We deal with these conditions every winter, but many of us do not really understand the wind chill factor.

Wind causes objects exposed to the elements to lose heat more quickly. But wind does not cause objects to cool below the outside air temperature. If the air is 10 below and the wind chill is 30 below, objects left outside can be cooled by the wind only to 10 below.

The wind chill index is all about how the human body reacts to the effect of wind by causing the perception that the air is actually colder than it is, which causes blood to flow through the exposed skin more quickly, which causes additional heat loss. But it is important to remember that this effect is to exposed skin only. A person outside but out of the wind is not experiencing wind chill. This includes situations such as riding in a car, standing out of the wind against a wall, or wearing clothes that block the wind.

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