Breaking down what wind chill factor means


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The concept of a wind chill factor was actually developed from a boy scout, who noticed that Antarctic explorers got frostbite more quickly on a windy day compared to a calm day.

Well, as the human body gives off heat, or loses heat, your skin cools. Now here is where it becomes tricky – the wind will act on your skin as if it is even colder.

How exactly does that work?

Let’s say it is 10 degrees outside for our actual air temperature, it’s a breezy day with sustained wind speeds blowing around 20 mph that creates a wind chill of 9 degrees below zero. Your exposed skin is going to react as if it is actually 9 degrees below zero at this point.

That’s a big difference; frostbite will occur even quicker with that wind, than what it would if it was just 10 degrees with no wind. So it’s not what it feels like outside, but it’s a combination of the temperatures and wind on your exposed skin.

Storm Team 10 gives the wind chill factor so you can prepare to dress appropriately in the wind and cold. Which means next time you step outdoors you’re going to want to grab the gloves and hat to protect your exposed skin.

The wind chill factor was coined by Paul Siple and Antartic explorer Charles Passel in the 1940s. Wind chill was developed for the use of human skin exposure; it is not used for inanimate objects. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s