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How do you figure the wind chill factor? Someone told me whatever the wind speed is, you subtract it from the temperature. Is that correct?

Martha R.


Oh no, you are misinformed! We must straighten this out. We see this a lot in our questions about weather, someone told you something it's like playing the childhood game of telephone and down the line the information gets skewed.

The windchill is a very useful tool. The new index was updated a few years ago and isn't as simple as just taking away 5 degrees. If you're out when it's 5 outside and the wind is 30 mph, it will feel much colder than 0 degrees.

According to NOAA the new wind chill temperature index includes the following: "Calculates wind speed at an average height of five feet (typical height of an adult human face) based on readings from the national standard height of 33 feet (typical height of an anemometer) Is based on a human face model Incorporates modern heat transfer theory (heat loss from the body to its surroundings, during cold and breezy/windy days) Lowers the calm wind threshold to 3 mph Uses a consistent standard for skin tissue resistance Assumes no impact from the sun (i.e., clear night sky). "

During the 1940's two scientists were conducting experiments on freezing water and they found the wind speed to be a factor, the equation to calculate wind chill comes from those experiments.

The best way to calculate the wind chill is by using the chart at the link on the right. The second link will show you the equation and if you want to brush up on your math skills, go ahead and have some fun with it!

Answered by KSL Meteorologist Dina Freedman.

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