Father Frost Time Again!

Happy Holidays to All and Stay Warm; but if You Cannot, Beware The Consequences

Illustration by Ivan Bilibin
Illustration by Ivan Bilibin – As Shown in Wikipedia article on Father Frost

In the Russian Fairy Tale about Father Frost by Alexander Afanasyev in Narodnye russkie skazki (1855-63)., a girl freezes to death.

Illustration by Ivan Bilibin

(REF: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Frost_%28fairy_tale%29)

This time of year, Winter has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, the Wind Chill Effect can hasten damage to unprotected humans and animals, depending on conditions, especially the wind speed.

The USA’s National Weather Service (NWS) Windchill Temperature (WCT) index uses advances in science, technology, and computer modeling to provide an accurate, understandable, and useful formula for calculating the dangers from winter winds and freezing temperatures. The index:

  • 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 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).

NWS Wind Chill Calculator Online (since 2009): www.nws.noaa.gov/os/windchill/index.shtml

Plus, The USA’s northern?? neighbors, Canadians, who sustain, and evidently survive even colder conditions than most US?? residents, have a slightly different view of the matter, show below, too:

Just what is Wind Chill? How did it start? Does it pose a real problem or is it just a “passing” fad?
(Note: This is a rehash of our 2o12 article, Wind Chill 2012 which, in turn was a rehash of our page 2010 article on the subject – so, some may have seen this before.)

USA National Weather Service Wind Chill Chart

The USA National Weather Service (NWS) informative Wind Chill Page is online at: www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/. On it it tells us:

The NWS Windchill Temperature (WCT) index uses advances in science, technology, and computer modeling to provide an accurate, understandable, and useful formula for calculating the real dangers from winter winds and freezing and subfreezing temperatures.

Environment Canada???s Wind Chill web page at: www.ec.gc.ca/meteo-weather/default.asp?lang=En&n=5FBF816A-1 tells even more (It more regularly gets a lot colder there than in the USA – In the Northeast USA we often speak about the “Alberta Clipper‘! Don’t cha know it comes from Canada?)

It’s not just the temperature that chills you, the combination of wind and low temperature produces the effects of much colder temperatures on humans and animals. The wind chill is the effective temperature.

There’s a lot of very useful information on the Environment Canada website including the table below showing the effects of windchill: (Credit: Environment Canada) but we added the temperatures to the nearest degree in F, the preferred units in the warmer, southern portion of the North American continent.)

I believe the Continental USA low Temperature Record is – 60 ??F, set in in Tower, Minnesota on February 2, 1996 (Interesting note: your Editor was there and has a thermometer-embellished hat to prove it!)

The Environment Canada Website also shows a Wind Chill table:

Environment Canada's Wind Chill Table and How to Estimate the Wind Speed in km/h
Environment Canada’s Wind Chill Table and How to Estimate the Wind Speed in km/h

NOTE: 10 km/h = 6.2 mph, 20 km/h = 12. 4 mph, 30 km/h = 18.6 mph,?? 40 km/h = 25 mph,?? 50 km/h = 31.1 mph and 60 km/h = 37.3 mph

Canadian Wind Chill Hazards and What To Do
Wind ChillRisk of FrostbiteOther Health
Concerns
What to Do
0 to -9 ??C (31 to 16 ??F)Low
  • Slight increase in discomfort
  • Dress warmly
  • Stay dry
-10 to -27 ??C (14 to -17 ??F)Low
  • Uncomfortable
  • Risk of hypothermia if outside for long periods without adequate protection.
  • Dress in layers of warm clothing, with an outer layer that is wind-resistant.
  • Wear a hat, mittens or insulated gloves, a scarf and insulated, waterproof footwear.
  • Stay dry.
  • Keep active
-28 to -39 ??C (-18 to -38 ??F)Risk: exposed skin can freeze in 10 to 30 minutes
  • Risk of frosnip or frostbite: Check face and extremities for numbness or whiteness.
  • Risk of hypothermia if outside for long periods without adequate clothing or shelter from wind and cold.
  • Dress in layers of warm clothing, with an outer layer that is wind-resistant
  • Cover exposed skin
  • Wear a hat, mittens or insulated gloves, a scarf, neck tube or face mask and insulated, waterproof footwear
  • Stay dry
  • Keep active
-40 to -47 ??C (-40 to -53 ??F)High risk: exposed skin can freeze in 5 to 10 minutes*
  • High Risk of frostbite: Check face and extremities for numbness or whiteness.
  • Risk of hypothermia if outside for long periods without adequate clothing or shelter from wind and cold.
  • Dress in layers of warm clothing, with an outer layer that is wind-resistant.
  • Cover all exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat, mittens or insulated gloves, a scarf, neck tube or face mask and insulated, waterproof footwear.
  • Stay dry
  • Keep active.
-48 to -54 ??C (-54 to -65 ??F)Very High risk: exposed skin can freeze in 2 to 5 minutes*
  • Very High Risk of frostbite: Check face and extremities frequently for numbness or whiteness.
  • Serious risk of hypothermia if outside for long periods without adequate clothing or shelter from wind and cold.
  • Be careful. Dress very warmly in layers of clothing, with an outer layer that is wind-resistant.
  • Cover all exposed skin
  • Wear a hat, mittens or insulated gloves, a scarf, neck tube or face mask and insulated, waterproof footwear.
  • Be ready to cut short or cancel outdoor activities.
  • Stay dry.
  • Keep active.
-55 ??C (-66 ??F) and colderExtremely High risk: exposed skin can freeze in less than 2 minutes*
  • DANGER! Outdoor conditions are hazardous.
  • Stay indoors.

*In sustained winds over 50 km/h (31 mph), frostbite can occur faster than indicated.

Finally, the Wind Chill Canadian wap page has some very straightforward recommendations for those who may be subject to severe cold; to wit:

Environment Canada’s Seven steps to cold weather safety

  1. Listen to the weather forecast
  2. Plan ahead
  3. Dress warmly
  4. Seek shelter
  5. Stay dry
  6. Keep active
  7. Be aware