Sunday, January 15, 2006

wind chill

The combined effects of low temperature and wind speed make cold weather seem colder to exposed skin. This is known as the wind chill index. A very strong wind combined with temperatures only slightly below freezing can have the same chilling effect as a temperature nearly 50 degrees lower in a calm atmosphere. The elderly and those in high-risk groups should remain indoors during winter storms or cold snaps. Only those in good physical condition should venture outdoors. If it is necessary to go outdoors, clothing should be loose-fitting, light-weight, and worn in several layers. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellant, and hooded. The mouth should be covered to ensure warm breathing and protect the lungs from the cold air. Mittens provide better protection than gloves.
Shoveling snow can bring on a heart attack, a major cause of death during winter storms, and should be avoided except by those in peak physical condition. Furnaces, heaters, fireplaces, and stoves should be maintained in good working condition to prevent fire hazards.
See also HYPOTHERMIA.
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Weather Service Pamphlet NOAAIPA 79018 (Rev. 8/83). 1986

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