Weather service keeping 'extreme cold' statements
BISMARCK, N.D. — The National Weather Service in the Dakotas and Minnesota will not be issuing wind chill warnings this winter, opting instead for the "extreme cold" statements that debuted last winter.
Wind chill is the measure of how cold it feels once the wind is factored in with the air temperature. The new warning emphasizes that dangerous cold does not necessarily depend on the wind, forecasters said.
"When it gets really darn cold out there, it gets really darn cold," Greg Gust, a meteorologist in Grand Forks, told the Grand Forks Herald.
"Extreme cold" warnings are issued when it feels like minus-30 degrees or colder across a wide area for several hours. Extreme cold watches are issued a day or two before the conditions are expected. The weather service began using the statements midway through last winter to supplement wind child advisories and warnings. This year, the agency is dropping wind chill warnings.
"I don't think people, especially those folks who ... have not been through a North Dakota winter, know the kind of cold we can get here," John Paul Martin, a meteorologist in Bismarck, told the Minot Daily News. "We are so focused on the wind chill but, hey, it can be downright cold out. It could be 30 below and we're asking, 'what's the wind chill?' Wait a minute. Thirty below is deadly."
The change is an experiment and the agency is monitoring public feedback, meteorologist Harlyn Wetzel told The Bismarck Tribune.