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John Wheeler: Winter wind chills will be here soon, so what is a wind chill?

Your car battery and oil will get cold faster in the wind but will not actually get any colder than the ambient temperature.

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FARGO — When it is cold, wind makes you feel colder by blowing heat away from exposed skin. Your body reacts and sends more blood to the cold areas which lowers your overall body temperature. If the air is below freezing, you can develop frostbite more quickly when it is windy. Your home will be harder to heat, also because the wind is blowing heat away. However, the wind chill is not the same as the temperature. If the temperature is zero degrees and there is wind and a wind chill of 25 below, then the temperature is still zero.

Things outside in the cold and wind cool down faster, but can only cool to zero, not to 25 below. So, for example, your car battery and oil will get cold faster in the wind, but will not actually get any colder than the ambient temperature. Wind chill is not designed to work for car batteries or for bundled-up people. It is calculated for exposed skin.

Related Topics: WEATHER
John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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