YP Letters: Wind chill adds to effect of cold on your body

From: Mike Smith, Birkby, Huddersfield.

Blizzard scenes in Yorkshire at the end of last week, but did the weather forecasters get it right?

I SHARE the opinion of Hugh Rogers that professional weather forecasters know their business, even if some cynics doubt it (The Yorkshire Post, March 1).

I feel, however, his criticism of forecasters using the expression ‘feel like’ is unjustified when referring to temperatures influenced by the wind chill factor.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Some years ago, I spent 10 days working on the north coast of Alaska in December and the thermometer temperature was minus 20°C. The accommodation posted a daily wind-chill equivalent which was usually around minus 40°C.

What happens is your body heats the atmosphere around it and, unless protected, it will continue to loose heat until you become hypothermic. The wind significantly increases the speed at which body heat is carried away from exposed parts compared to a cold but calm day.

I think all that the forecasters are saying is to dress according to what it feels like on your exposed parts, such as face and hands, rather than what a thermometer may indicate. Still on the topic of keeping warm, Radio 4 has just reported the cold snap has reduced gas supplies to critical levels. With the wind blowing as I write, one wonders what the anti-frackers and eco-warriors might have to say about that?