Wind Chill and Photogenic Sparrows
Over the years, I’ve wondered how weather forecasters come up with those wind chill numbers that are included in our coldest winter forecasts. Obviously, the more wind, the lower the wind chill number, but there must be more to it than that, so today I looked it up. It was even more complicated than I had figured. Weather folk have been tinkering with this formula for years, and the National Weather Service reissued the following, currently used, formula in 2001:
T(wc) = 35.74 + 0.6215T – 35.75(V0.16) + 0.4275T(V0.16)
(with T=temperature in º F and V=velocity of wind in miles/hour.)
It seems that a “feel” temperature formula might be as much an art as it is a science, but I certainly did feel today’s T(wc) of 5º!
I had found a great place to walk and bird watch but had to cut it short because even though I was bundled up, today’s wind made my eyes water and today’s temperature made my face hurt.
I visited Island Prairie and Indian Boundary Park in Frankfort Square, Illinois. The Frankfort Square Park District has done a really nice job with this park (also the location of their district headquarters). They have made this pond, flood prevention, and water run-off site quite lovely with a boardwalk through the marsh and signage describing plants and wildlife in the area. There is also a paved path around the marsh that continues and connects with other parks in town.
I could hear the songbirds as I approached the boardwalk. Juncos and small sparrows (swamp sparrows, I think) were flitting about, and a hawk circled overhead. I wish I could have been more patient when photographing all of the birds; it was a great day to take pictures, but for the temperature.