Every winter you hear our meteorologists talk about wind chill almost as often as they talk about the temperature. The combination of bitter cold and and wind can cause frostbite, hypothermia and even in extreme cases can cause death.

The wind chill is a mathematical formula and is calculated using the temperature and the wind speed. Here’s how it works:

When it’s cold our bodies lose heat through a process called convection. The wind and colder temperatures force your body to lose its heat which flows out of your body and into the air. However, with no wind that layer of heat will stay in your body and helps to keep it warm

When it’s windy the moving air breaks up that insulating warm layer and forces it out into the air. For example at 20-degrees with a wind of 20 mph, the warm insulated air that’s been keeping your body warm quickly is forced into the air because the wind makes the body feel like it’s 4-degrees. The wind motion forces the fluids that help warm your body to get much colder and the heat will leave your body very quickly

As the temperatures get colder and the winds increase the wind chill gets even more frigid. That’s when it can become dangerous to be outside.

The best way to make sure your body doesn’t lose heat is to wear more layers. The layers will keep the heat closer to your body and won’t allow it to escape. You should always wear something to cover your head and gloves to cover your hands,

Fun Fact: Wind chill does not effect your car or any other object. Wind chill is calculated using your body heat and how quickly that heat escapes with cold temperatures and wind speed.