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Winter Weather Awareness Week: What does wind chill mean?

Winter Weather Awareness Week: What does wind chill mean?
Winter Weather Awareness Week: What does wind chill mean? 02:17

(CBS DETROIT) - It's Winter Weather Awareness Week in Michigan, and residents here are not strangers to the cold. 

Your CBS Detroit NEXT Weather team talks about wind chill values often during the winter months. 

What does the term "wind chill" mean?

Now, what is wind chill exactly? It's a term used to describe how cold it feels to humans and animals outside.

The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by cold air and wind. 

When winds increase, heat is carried away from us at a faster rate, chilling the body temperature down. It is very similar to blowing on hot food to cool it down.

Now, there is a fancy wind chill equation that you could mathematically solve to get the wind chill values. But if you want to avoid solving the acrobatics of the equation, this chart features the air temperature, wind and the apparent wind chill values.

Along the x-axis or the top are temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit. The y-axis or down the side is wind speed. 

For example, Let's take a temperature of 20 degrees with a week of 25 mph. You drag to the middle, matching with 3. So, the apparent wind chill would be 3.

Digging even deeper, the colors represent the frost-bite time of exposed skin outside. In our previous example, frostbite could happen in about 30 minutes.

The wind chill is not a true temperature, but it allows us to understand how heat is lost due to the wind.

Plus, everyone has a different tolerance, so this is not exact, but it gives all of us a good indication of what it's going to feel like outside once you step out the door.

For this winter season, stay warm and be aware of the dangers of cold air.

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