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What is wind chill?

Wind chill, or the “feels-like” temperature, is the sensation our body feels as it loses heat from exposed skin.

HOUSTON — This Arctic front has left us with bitterly cold air which feels even cooler than it actually is. 

Why? Well, we have a strong north breeze behind the front and that’s giving us a wind chill. 

What is wind chill?

Wind chill, or the “feels-like” temperature, is how cold it feels when you're outside. Wind chill is the sensation our body feels as it loses heat from exposed skin. Our body heat basically gets blown always by the wind. 

First, that causes the skin temperature to drop and then the body temperature drops, which becomes dangerous.

Some good indicators that your body is getting too cold too fast include your hands and toes turning pale. That’s a sign all the blood is rushing from your extremities to the center of your body to keep your organs warm.

Shivering is a sign your body is trying to create body heat. This works for a short period of time. When you stop shivering in extreme cold, that’s a sign of hypothermia setting in. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, other symptoms include slurred speech, shallow breathing, weak pulse, drowsiness and confusion. 

Exposure to the cold is not only dangerous but can be deadly, which is why we have to pay attention to not only what the actual air temperature is, but what it feels like. 

Below is a chart the National Weather Service uses to determine the wind chill:

Credit: National Weather Service

The wind chill takes into account two factors  — the air temperature and the wind.

If you’d like to do a quick calculation of the wind chill while you’re out and about, take the wind speed, multiply it by (0.7) then subtract that number from the air temperature.

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