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      Wind chill: the wind's effect on temperatures

      You've heard meteorologists mention it often during the winter, but exactly what is wind chill? It's the temperature that we feel on our skin. It applies to humans and animals alike.

      But wind chill does not apply to inanimate objects like antifreeze fluid for cars. Strong winds may cool it down quickly, but it never gets colder than the actual temperature. That means your antifreeze will still work as long as the actual temperature doesn't drop down to the antifreeze's rated level.

      Wind chill assumes that you and your clothes are dry. It won't be as accurate for wet people.

      "If you are wet though, and it is very cold and the wind is blowing outside, that will definitely increase your rate of heat loss from your body," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Zika.

      Make sure that your hat, gloves, and other clothes are dry or else you're putting yourself at risk for dangerous cold weather injuries.

      "If your heat loss rate is rapid, you have a higher potential to both suffer frostbite and perhaps hypothermia," Zika said.

      So, how cold does the wind chill temperature have to be in order to be dangerous?

      A chart from the National Weather Service shows that your exposed skin can get frostbite in as little as 30 minutes with wind chill temperatures in the minus twenties. Those are caused by actual temperatures in the single digits and winds near 30 miles per hour.

      The folks responsible for the chart are also responsible for warning the public about the dangerous weather.

      "We'll issue wind chill advisories when we think the wind chills are going to be around 25 degrees below zero and wind chill warnings when wind chills are expected to be 35 degrees below zero or lower," Zika said.

      Average actual low temperatures for December start off in the teens and end up in the single digits by the end of the month, meaning that winter weather dangers are more likely becoming a reality.