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Dear Tom,
If the temperature is above freezing, say 39 degrees, but the wind chill is below freezing, will water freeze?
— Adele Aronson, Glenview
Dear Adele,
It will not. Wind chill is a perceived air temperature, not a physical quantity. An object will lose heat in calm conditions, but wind will remove it more quickly. That’s why people feel colder when it is windy. Wind chill is the “feels like” temperature of still air that would remove heat from our skin as quickly as the existing combination of air temperature and wind is actually removing it.
Water will not freeze with the temperature air at or above 33 degrees, regardless of how far the wind chill is below freezing. Wind chill has no effect on inanimate objects, and they cannot be cooled below the ambient air temperature.