This winter has been so cold in the Northeast, that the weathermen have skipped the “Wind Chill Factor.” The WCF has always bothered me. Like it is not cold enough, you have to factor in the wind to make everyone feel really bad.
I think the wind chill factor became popular in the eighties or nineties. It was common for skiers to get frost bite. It became popular to warn everyone, especially skiers, that the wind, either real or the same effect generated by a person roaring downhill at thirty plus miles per hour, effectively makes uncovered skin colder. They then calculated that though twenty-five degrees was not dangerously cold, flying down hill would make the dangers of frost bite to your unprotected skin the same as if the temperature was ten degrees. The weather person mantra in the winter soon became, “But with the wind it feels like” followed by some really scary number that makes you afraid to even run outside to your car for fear of freezing to death before you make it.
Of course to people born before 1980, we only knew the actual temperature. If it was 25 degrees out, we knew what that felt like. If it was 25 degrees out and windy, we knew you needed to cover up because “it feels a lot colder.” When we hear “It feels like -5 degrees,” that is some scary stuff…especially if it is windy. We have a different point of reference.
One of the stupidest thing I hear on weather reporting is “It is 20 degrees out, but with the wind gusting at 10 mph, it feels like 10 degrees.” Not to me it doesn’t. To me it feels like 20 degrees with a very mild wind, except for occasional gusts where you may want to turn your back to the wind for a few seconds.
Anyway, weather people love the WCF, because they love scary weather. If it wasn’t for scary weather they would not have a job; no one would really care about the weather or weather people.
It has been so cold in the Northeast this winter that the weather people have not been using the WCF to scare us. They don’t need to, it is cold enough for real. I thought it was just my imagination that they were not using the WCF like they used to but then I heard this just yesterday from a weather lady,
“It is 5 degrees out…the wind is from the west at 5 mph, not enough to make a difference.”
That 5 mph wind could make the temperature -1 degree with the WCF. What the weather lady really admitted was “It is friggin cold enough to not need the WCF to scare you anymore.”
Now I have it figured out. If the weather report does not include a WCF, stay inside, it is too damn cold.
I remember they would do the wind chill factor in Montana when we lived there. I understood it but you are right, the bottom line is, cold is cold, no matter what the temperature. I would bundle up the same for -5 with a -20 WCF that I would do for a -5 with no WCF. Sometimes you had to get out and do something no matter how cold it was.ReplyDelete
That's the only time I really appreciate have such a small garden - if there's a wind chill factor but the sun is out I can just sit on the decking completely sheltered from that bloody wind and it feels like the temperature it really is.ReplyDelete
Schools use it. 10 degrees with wind chill means indoor recess. One of the principals searched every weather site in the area for the magic 10 degrees and took a screenshot of it for whiny parents. Feisty one.ReplyDelete
Said that wrong. 10 degrees with wind chill means OUTDOOR recess. She wanted those kids out.Delete
OMG how do you guys do it.....We are CA wimps we freak out if it gets below 50ReplyDelete
too funny. :)ReplyDelete
You guys are getting too much cold weather, while we Oregonians are getting too little. We'll pay a price for this when summer comes and there isn't any melting snow pack coming down from the mountains.ReplyDelete
One man commented on this by talking about his grandfather's method. If his grandfather said it was cold, "with a right smart of wind," it meant stay indoors unless you had to go to the barn to tend the animals!ReplyDelete
We're having spring here so it's not cold. I'm wearing my flip flops this morning. There is no WCF to deal with here at all.ReplyDelete
Have a fabulous day. ☺
My favorite TV channel has people driving around in "weather tracker' cars and standing along the freeway in wind that would knock over a reporter if it wasn't their job to stand up and look miserable. This is stupid. Demos are not necessary.ReplyDelete
Like you I don't care a lot about the WCF but I do want to know if it will be "windy.". It determines what type of coat I wear. With a gusty wind, I go with leather-it stops that wind effect in its tracks. Other wise, I go with down or cloth.ReplyDelete
Gotta admit however, I am impressed when they say the WCF is 5 degrees. Yep, I scare easily. Guess I am the target audience.
I spent much of my adult life in the mountains of New Hampshire. The thermometer atop Mount Washington in the winter would freeze at -99 degrees. They blamed that on high winds. It was really only -27, which is why no one lived atop Mount Washington in the winter. Now, for the rest of us, 0 was a pretty good number, but when they considered the WCF, we had two months of -18. To date, there is only one possible way to offset the WCF. You must put a stake into the ground and nail a picture of Al Gore to it. In about a million years, they will be measuring the WHF.ReplyDelete
I have my own barometer for scary weather. When Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel shows up in your town, then you have scary weather.ReplyDelete
Our sleet and snow has been melting for four days. I'm up to my running boards in mud. My sister the ex-mayor's wife grabbed the ex-mayor by the elbow yesterday when he tried to lean in my car window to talk to me. "Get away from her car!" She probably hosed down her driveway when I left.ReplyDelete
When the wind chill is below 20, I wear my coat from the car to the school building. Otherwise, shirtsleeves will do.
I worked in a tv station in Phoenix with a weatherman who used to say (EVERY NIGHT) "high pressure dominates". And it did.ReplyDelete
I've kind of envied people who live in the east this year. I love snow and cold weather, probably because I've never lived in a place like that.ReplyDelete
Here in Tucson, we've had a few windy days, but never below 55 degrees or so. So I guess WCF doesn't count.
There may be something to this wind chill factor. Now that I'm older, I notice the difference between 'cold' and 'cold-with-wind' a lot more.ReplyDelete
I don't even pay attention to what they say the wind chill factor is. It seems overplayed.ReplyDelete