Dangerous cold settles in Michigan, Great Lakes region

Published On: Jan 21 2013 05:36:00 PM EST

The coldest air in four years has settled into the Great Lakes region, and the National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory from 7 p.m. Monday until 1 p.m. Tuesday. 

A combination of very cold temperatures and brisk winds will cause wind chills to drop to -15 and -20 overnight, around -15 Tuesday morning and -5 to -10 Tuesday afternoon.

Read more: Dangerously cold days ahead

If your children walk or take a bus to school, you'll want to seriously consider driving them, or at least letting them sit in a warm car while waiting for the bus.  Schools will also likely cancel outdoor recess tomorrow.  In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if a few far outlying school districts cancel school because the majority of their students wait on a bus stop, and live a far distance from school.

A word about wind chill:  this is not something that we meteorologists made up to hype the weather.  You see, wind increases evaporation of moisture from your skin and, since evaporation causes cooling, windy conditions on a cold day makes you feel even colder. 

View: Temperatures at JustWeather.com

So, scientists did an extensive research project and developed the wind chill scale to let us know how cold it really feels on exposed skin at various temperatures and wind speeds.  Thus, wind chill is what we call an apparent temperature.  In other words, it is a temperature that is only perceived by living things.  Thus, wind chill has no impact whatsoever on your car engine, sidewalk, driveway, or mailbox.

One quick comment about this cold snap:  I've seen some comments thrown around asking how can this happen if our climate is warming.  It is important to remember that global warming does not mean an end to winter.  Rather, it means that cold extremes are becoming less frequent, and warm extremes are increasing. 

Case in point is the fact that we've had dozens and dozens of warm temperature records here in Detroit over the past several years, and almost no cold records. 

In fact, the cold weather we'll have the next few days won't even come close to setting any records.  It's just been so long since we've experienced temperatures like this.


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