Wind chill: How does it feel?

By Kelly McCarthy

January 3, 2014 Updated Jan 3, 2014 at 8:01 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The big snowfall followed by a bitter cold snap leaves people at risk if they are outside for too long. Temperatures hovered in the single digits Friday, but there's one thing that makes those conditions feel even worse.

The words "wind chill" have been used a lot lately to describe what it really feels like on cold, bitter days. A wind chill is the combination of cold temperatures and harsh winds.

The wind chill in Binghamton on Friday dipped down to -25 degrees.

"Very, very crisp, very sharp," said Pat Kresse of Endwell, "The wind it hits you, yea it almost stings."

The wind cools off people just like a fan on hot summer days. Wind evaporates the moisture and lowers body temperature, only during the winter, people don't want to be any colder.

"The lower the number, the faster your body is going to cool down," said Brian Shroeder of Storm Tracker Weather, "And when we're talking about cooling down, you're not just talking about being chilly, we're talking about dangerously cold."

People who still choose to go outside when the wind chill dips below zero need to listen to their bodies to stay safe. When toes, fingers, and the face start to tingle, that's the body's way of telling someone it's time to go inside.

"And if they start to shiver," said Sean Britton of the Broome County Health Department, "They really need to go inside because that's their body telling them that they're progressing toward hypothermia."

Hypothermia is having a dangerously low body temperature, and frostbite occurs when body parts are exposed to the cold.

Those who decide to brave the negative wind chills said it's safer to bundle up.

"Let me see, I have a big heavy sweatshirt," Kresse said, "I have long johns under that, and my jacket, so three layers."

Shroeder said with negative wind chill conditions, exposed flesh can freeze in about half an hour or less.

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