Why is Wind Chill so Dangerous?

During the summer, one of the major dangers to your health is heat. During the winter, heat’s evil sibling ‘wind chill’ is on the roam, looking to stir up some trouble.

Credit: NOAA / NWS

Credit: NOAA / NWS

Although very dangerous, wind chill is not an actual temperature reading. It is a measure of heat loss that our body experiences when exposed to the wind. The colder the wind chills, the more dangerous it is. Our body gives off a layer of heat that protects the skin from cold temperatures. A strong wind can blow this layer away from our skin, taking away our natural defense to the cold. Thus, the wind chill temperature is the temperature that our bodies will feel when our skin is exposed to the cold temperatures and the winds of winter.

Credit: LongitudeLatitude via Flickr

Credit: LongitudeLatitude via Flickr

Wind chill is a great predictor of such dangers as frostbite and hypothermia. Being exposed to below zero wind chills can induce frostbite within five minutes. While wind chills below minus 20 degrees can result in frostbite within a minute of exposure.

Credit: Gawain Jones Photo via Flickr

Credit: Gawain Jones Photo via Flickr

Remember when going outside and it’s cold and windy, to cover your exposed skin — even your face! But even with your skin covered, wind chills can still be dangerous when exposed to them for long periods of time. The best course of action is to stay inside when these conditions exist. If you need to go outside remember to dress in layers, and minimize skin exposure. Read more on wind chill


Stay Safe! Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team



This entry was posted in General, Safety, Winter.
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