What, no wind chill? NWS dumps wind chill for “Extreme Cold”

You won’t hear any wind chill babble from your local NWS this winter.

NWS will exclusively use the new NWS “Extreme Cold Watches & Warnings.”

The Twin Cities NWS will be one of 7 regional NWS offices that will dump wind chill for the new “Extreme Cold” wording this wnter.

I asked Todd Krause of the Twin Cities NWS about this today.

“Hi Paul…

We are doing the same as Bismarck.

There are seven offices in the experiment: Bismarck, Grand Forks, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, Duluth, and us. More offices in the eastern region and a few in the south are trying it as well.

We’ll be highlighting in a web headline after we’re done with winter awareness week. It is just an experiment, meaning that wind chill products may return next year, depending on the results. Of course, our statements and warnings will still refer to wind chill values this winter.

Todd”

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Bismarck NWS explains winter weather terms.

The story from the Bismarck Trubune.

“The National Weather Service in Bismarck says it won’t be issuing wind chill values this winter.

Instead, the weather service will issue “extreme cold” statements when the actual temperature and wind combine to make it feel like 30-35 below zero across a wide area for several hours.

Harlyn Wetzel, meteorologist for the weather service in Bismarck, said the change in delivering the winter weather information is an experiment of sorts and people can participate in an online survey to tell the service if they like the changes – or if they don’t like them.

The survey can be found on the National Weather Service website or you can email comments to john.paul.martin@noaa.gov.

Wetzel said one reason for the change is that many times in North Dakota, winter weather can be dangerously cold with little or no wind.

“In North Dakota, we have a lot of situations when the weather is extreme by any other standards than those of North Dakota,” Wetzel said.

An “extreme cold watch” will be issued a day or two before the extreme cold conditions are possible and an “extreme cold warning” will be issued up to a day before.”

The change may be somewhat semantics. One reason it evolved is that near the center of big sprawling arctic high pressure cells there is often little or no wind, but it’s still dangerously cold. In fact the coldest air temperatures are often reached near the windless center of arctic high pressure systems.

The threshold for NWS “Extreme Cold” watches and warnings is any combination of temperature and wind that produces an “apparent temperature” (ie WIND CHILL!) of -30 or colder.

What do you think?

Heavy Wisconson Snowfall!

Yep. They got blitzed with the season’s firt snow today in Wisconsin. The far southeast tip of Minnesota also got snow, where Caledonia in Houston County recorded 3″.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI

428 PM CST WED NOV 09 2011

…RECENT REPORTED SNOWFALL TOTALS…

LOCATION SNOWFALL TIME LAT/LON

WISCONSIN

…ADAMS COUNTY…

ARKDALE 3.9 0414 PM

…JUNEAU COUNTY…

MAUSTON 1S 8.0 0421 PM 4

NEW LISBON 2N 4.0 0404 PM

…LA CROSSE COUNTY…

LA CROSSE NWS 4.0 0403 PM

…MONROE COUNTY…

WARRENS 5WSW 3.8 0412 PM

TOMAH 1.3 0333 PM

…RICHLAND COUNTY…

RICHLAND CENTER 4W 3.6 0423 PM

…TAYLOR COUNTY…

MEDFORD 4E 4.1 0332 PM

…VERNON COUNTY…

WESTBY 3ENE 3.7 0335 PM

OBSERVATIONS ARE COLLECTED FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES WITH VARYING

EQUIPMENT AND EXPOSURE. NOT ALL DATA LISTED IS CONSIDERED OFFICIAL.

The heavy snow is a little earlier than average in most areas of western Wisconsin according to the La Crosse NWS.

Average First Date of Measurable Snowfall

Below are the average first dates of measurable snowfall for various locations in southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, and western Wisconsin.

As we transition into the Winter season, many factors can influence the average first date of snowfall. Storm tracks across the Upper Midwest can lead to large gradients between snow and rain. Also, ground temperatures in the late Fall are still relatively warm, and if the observation is not taken immediately after the snow ends, some of the snow may melt. This is especially true during overnight snow events, where some of the snow can melt before the morning observation.

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Sky show tonight!

If you can stand the chill in the air, remember to get out with clear skies tonight and check out the moon and Jupiter in close proximity tonight!

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Uber Storm bashes Alaska:

There are reports of some damage in Alaska from the record “Epic” “Arctic Hurricane.”

Winds have been clocked at 89 mph, well above hurricane force.

More from AP:

“Water already has reached homes in at least four Native villages, including Tununak and Kipnuk, state emergency managers said.

Zidek noted there have been no reports of injuries, and damage so far has been largely limited to blown-out windows and battered roofs. Hooper Bay and Tununak reported scattered power outages.

The highest wind gusts recorded — 89 mph — were at Wales at the western tip of the Seward Peninsula, said Bob Fischer, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service in Fairbanks.

In Nome — the biggest of the coastal communities with about 3,600 residents — wind gusted to 61 mph, Fischer said.

The storm knocked out power in the town for several hours before sunrise. Winds were expected to remain strong throughout Wednesday.

“Water was at the bases at a number of buildings but not in the homes yet,” Fischer said. Tides could reach 7 feet above normal, he said.

The height of snow and hurricane-force winds hit Nome at about 2 a.m., police spokesman Zane Brown said. Some roof damage to homes was reported, he said.”

PH

  • Jeb

    Many people are used to the wind chill values. Why not simply release them hourly, but transition to “Extreme Cold Warnings”? I don’t see any harm in that transition.

  • http://lastditch.dyndns.org derek terveer

    I’ve always been uncomfortable with “wind chill” because it misleads people into further misunderstanding the physics of winter weather and an unnecessary (IMHO) dumbing down of the idea.

    Wind chill is really a measure of RATE of cooling; the faster the wind, the faster the chill RATE. It isn’t a linear measure, of course, but how many things truly are?

    A surprising number of people think that if the wind chill is -35C/-31F, then their car engine is at -35C/-31F.

    A person’s body won’t end up being cooler than ambient air temperature, no matter what the wind chill.

    So, a different way of handling this is called for. Maybe this is a start. Why can’t we have a wind chill rate scale? Maybe like the UV scale.

    0 No increased chilling

    :

    5 Dangerous extra loss of heat due to wind

    :

    10 Extreme chill rate

  • Randy

    Last year was the first year they could use the extreme cold warning and it was also experimental. It was developed because the NWS didn’t have a vehicle of which to warn people about life threatening cold temperatures that could occur with little or no wind.

    I personally liked the idea of being able to use both as it would more accurately describe the conditions that were expected.