I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so when the first cold snap of the season came upon us today I was listening, and reading the local weather pundits.
“The first cold snap of the season is upon us.” According to the local meteorologists/hairdo’s/suits, an “arctic” front was “barreling down” from the frozen north. It could be the coming of the Apocalypse! The temperature might just dip below 30 degrees! I think that if there had been the slightest chance of snow, the local weather hairdo giving the forecast, just might have had an accident. I watch all the Alaska shows, so that just in case there is a grizzly attack here in Greenville, SC I’ll know what to do. You know the shows I’m talking about. They have to cut their own firewood, not for ambiance, but to actually heat their homes that are the size of our breakfast nooks, or they might actually die. Now I don’t know where you’re from, but to me that’s cold. 30 degrees ain’t cold. Cutting firewood so you don’t freeze to death is cold. But what struck me was all the uproar about what it really feels like, or what most of us know as “the wind chill factor.”
Now the goal posts in my head might be further apart than most people’s, so I figured I better look up what the formula is for the wind chill factor before I make too big a fool out of myself. Yeah, I know, too late right? One organization touts itself as using more than 2 factors, and they have “patented” their work, so I am afraid to ridicule them by name. I don’t want to get sued. Not that there is anything to sue for in the first place, but it means I’ll have to open more mail than usual, and there will be phone calls. I hate phone calls. Thank goodness someone invented texting. Here is the link to their website that tells you they use more than 2 factors, but because it’s “patented” they can’t tell you how they do it. I think the more factors you use the more ridiculous you look. First here is the actual formula for the wind chill factor from weather.gov. Basically it means, if the wind is X and the temperature is Y, it really “feels” like Z.
WindChill = 35.74 + (0.6215 × T) − (35.75 × Wind) + (0.4275 × T × Wind)
Because the user might need the Wind Chill in Watts per meter squared ( W , it can be m2 ) calculated using an air temperature in degrees Celsius (°C) and a wind speed in meters per second ( : s m )
WindChill = (12.1452 + 11.6222 x sfc − 11.622 × Windsfc) × (33 – T)
Okay, everybody got that? Real easy right? But here’s my question, and we’ll just stick with wind chill factor and forget about the “other guys patented formula with more variables.” How do they figure that out? I mean at some point someone had to go outside and say, “You know it really doesn’t feel like 20°F out there with the wind blowing at 15mph, it really feels like -10°F.” They had to have some Goober stand outside with a thermometer and an anemometer (I had to look it up. I thought about putting in just windometer, but we need to learn at least something once a day, right?) and shout, “Hey Barney. The wind is 15 mph and it’s 20°F, but what does it really feel like?” Then Barney had to shout back something like, “I don’t know Otis, but I’ll guess 6.2°F.” (I actually keyed in the numbers into the weather.gov windchill conversion chart to get the actual number. We’re just being all kinds of sciency today aren’t we?) Barney had to have stayed outside long enough to get enough readings for the math types to have been able to come up with a formula. Now you know why I think using more factors makes you look more ridiculous. “Okay Barney, the wind is blowing, the temperature is X, but now you’re wearing a coat, the sun is out, but you’re standing in the shade, in the driveway wearing Birkenstocks and socks, and it’s snowing, what does it feel like now?” Barney had to reply, “yeah, it doesn’t feel like 6.2°F anymore, it really feels like 7.2°F.” Having gone through all those machinations, they came up with the formula I gave you above.
If they didn’t have a guy standing outside, then don’t give me the wind chill factor. Wear your suit, poof your hair and tell me what the weather is going to be like tomorrow.
How would you have liked to have been that guy standing outside? I know it had to be a guy because a woman wouldn’t have been that dumb.
As a side note today, I would like your opinion. We were watching a tribute to the 3 tenors, by 3 of the youngest, littlest, skinniest, purtiest guys, with the biggest voices, and hairdos, you have ever heard, on PBS Saturday night. In my uncultured opinion if you’re going to sing like that, you need to be big, fat, bald, and with a plate of spaghetti next to you. In other words you need to look like me and/or Pavarotti. They were performing in Florence outside of the big Cathedral. My Mom asked, “What is the name of that church?” Instead of saying “The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore” which is the actual name of the Cathedral, I deadpanned, “1st Baptist of Florence.” Nobody laughed, and one person remarked, “Do they have Baptists in Italy?” Somebody tell me, how is that not funny?