Cold Temperatures and Wind Chill -- Winter Preparedness Tips

Wind chill indicates how cold people and animals feel while outside. According to the National Weather Service, wind chill is not the actual temperature but rather how the wind and cold feels on exposed skin based on the rate of heat loss. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at a rapid pace, driving down skin temperature and eventually the body’s internal temperature. Therefore, the wind makes it feel much colder.

If you are going to be outside, the American Red Cross encourages you to:

  • Dress appropriately. Air temperature does not have to be below freezing for someone to experience cold emergencies such as hypothermia and frostbite. Wind speed can create dangerously cold conditions even when temperatures are not that low.

  • Dress in layers to adjust to changing conditions. Avoid overdressing or overexertion, which can lead to heat illness.

  • Wear a hat, preferably one covering your ears, because most body heat is lost through your head.

  • Wear mittens as they provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.

  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry, and to help maintain your footing in ice and snow.

  • After coming inside, immediately get out of wet clothes and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids such as hot cider or soup. Avoid caffeine or alcohol in cases of hypothermia or frostbite.


More Information

Ready Virginia -- Winter Weather



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