Dangerously cold wind chills and what you need to know - WNEM TV 5

Dangerously cold wind chills and what you need to know

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Bitterly cold temperatures have taken over Michigan and we are feeling the effects today.

To put it in perspective, it’s actually warmer in Alaska than here in Mid-Michigan! The forecast high for Fairbanks, Alaska today, is 25 degrees. The high for us here in Michigan as 12° with some of us not even making it out of the single digits!

The reason for the cold is thanks to an arctic cold front that dropped down from Canada Yesterday, opening the door for polar temperatures to spill in today. An even bigger story than single digit daytime highs is the wind chill.

A wind chill advisory in effect tonight until 11 AM for: Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, Lapeer, Ogemaw, Arenac, Iosco and Alcona counties.

What this means

Temperatures this morning ranged from 5 degrees to -15 below zero, and while winds have died down it was still enough that those two combined created sub-zero wind chill values. Feels like temperatures this morning ranged from -10 to -28°!

Wind chills that cold put exposed skin at risk of frostbite in under 20 min. Hypothermia is also a danger if proper clothing and precautions are not taken.

What you need to know

Wind chill is based on the heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold temperatures. The stronger the wind, the more heat it draws from skin, and that drives down your internal body heat. That in turn is what makes it feel so much colder.

Without proper clothing any exposed skin will be at risk of frostbite in less than half an hour.

To avoid frostbite and hypothermia the National Weather Service says to wear multiple layers of loose-fitting, warm clothes. Air trapped in between layers of clothing will help insulate you. Also, for your outer layer, make sure the coat is tightly woven, waterproof and has a hood. 

It is a must to wear a hat as well. Most of our body heat is lost through our heads. Mittens are also a good idea to keep fingers warm. Fingers, toes and noses are some of the most susceptible places for frostbite.

When and Where

All of Michigan woke up to these frigid temperatures, but the thumb and Oscoda saw the coldest wind chills. The coldest readings from this morning were -28 below in Oscoda.  Those farther inland towards Saginaw and Genesee County saw wind chills approaching -15°. The winds have really lightened up some sun is going to help bump up temperatures a little bit so we will see feels like temps start to "warm" up as well. We will still be bitterly cold out and wind chills will hover near or just below zero all day long even after the wind chill advisory expires. 

If you are going out today be sure you are covered head to toe and don’t stay outside for too long if you can. Today will be good for a lazy day inside with a warm blanket and a hot drink. If you do have to be out-and-about dress warm! 

Find a list of some winter safety tip here. As always we’ll keep you posted.

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