WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

# The term "wind chill" is referred to as making a temperature feel colder. Does wind chill cause water to freeze at a higher temperature, ie, if the temperature is 33 degrees and the wind chill is 30 degrees, will water freeze?

Posted February 4, 2007

MIKE MOSS SAYS:     Randal,    The body loses heat more rapidly when the wind is blowing, which makes it "feel" colder than it really is, and wind chill is simply an estimate of the air temperature that would be required to produce the same rate of cooling in the absence of significant wind. A good explanation, an easy to use chart, and a formula for calculations can be found at

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/index.shtml.

As to your specific question, the wind chill number is almost meaningless when it comes to inanimate objects. If the temperature is 33 degrees and the wind is blowing 20 mph for example, the wind chill would be 21 degrees. This means that a person exposed to the wind would lose heat at a similar rate as someone else where the actual temperature was 21 but the wind is calm or nearly so. However, the temperature of the water would remain 33 degrees and it would not freeze.

One last point on this is to note that if you were to set out some water with a temperature of 50 degrees and the air temperature was 33, the water would cool down to 33 more rapidly if a stiff wind was blowing than it would if there were no wind. However, once it reaches 33 degrees it will remain at that temperature regardless of the wind speed, all else being the same.