Single digit temperatures will combine with gusty winds to make for a dangerously cold night across New Jersey.

I heard Dennis and Judi talking on the air yesterday about how "wind chill effect" is a phrase that has been deliberately manufactured by meteorologists, to dramatize and sensationalize cold weather. (It was a lot funnier coming out of their mouths!) While that may be partially true, the wind chill or "feels like" temperature is an important measure of how dangerous a cold spell is to humans, animals, and plants. (Research has shown that wind chill has no effect on the freezing point of water, or stress on buildings or cars.)

Common sense dictates that cold and windy is way more uncomfortable and painful than just plain cold.

Here's the magic chart, produced by the National Weather Service, that shows what the wind chill would be for a given temperature (along the top) and wind speed (along the left side).

Wind Chill Chart

Tonight's forecast? Low temperatures around 5 degrees, with sustained winds of about 15-20 miles per hour.

Wind chill? Below -10 degrees. OUCH!

The other important element of the wind chill chart is the time it would take for bare exposed skin to suffer from frostbite, indicated by the color shading. Tonight's cold temperatures are very close to the blue "30 minute" range, meaning the characterization of these conditions as "dangerous cold" is no joke.

The National Weather Service agrees - they have issued a Wind Chill Advisory for all 21 counties of New Jersey from this evening through early tomorrow morning.

Watches and Warnings Map
Watches and Warnings Key

I would expect some school delayed openings tomorrow morning, given the low wind chills are expected to last through bus stop time. If you do have to drag yourself to work or school late tonight or early tomorrow morning, be sure to let the car warm up and dress appropriately for this very cold weather!