Freezing temps require preparation


GREENVILLE —Tuesday’s high in Greenville was 10 degrees, with a low of -13 below, placing the Wind Chill Temperature at -23 below degrees.

What is the Wind Chill?

According to the NWS, the Wind Chill Temperature (WCT) index does the following: calculates wind speed at an average height of five feet, the typical height of an adult human face, based on readings from the national standard height of 33 feet; incorporates heat transfer theory based on heat loss from the body to its surroundings, during cold and breezy/windy days; lowers the calm wind threshold to three miles per hour; uses a consistent standard for skin tissue resistance and assumes no impact from the sun. In addition, NWS said that the only effect windchill has on inanimate objects, such as car radiators and water pipes, is to shorten the amount of time for the object to cool. The inanimate object will not cool below the actual air temperature. Bitterly cold wind chills can increase the risk of developing frostbite and hypothermia.

The NWS provides the following safety tips: the best way to avoid hypothermia and frostbite is to stay warm and dry indoors and outdoors, by wearing several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing; outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded; hats retain much of the body’s heat; Covering the mouth protects lungs from extreme cold and mittens that are snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.

Darke County Highway Superintendent Shane Coby said the county has gone through about 600 tons of salt and about 2,400 tons of ice grits, since the first snow in December.

“At any given time, there are usually 22 trucks out on the roads,” Coby said. “We have almost 522 miles of road, and 16-18 hours is about as far as we try to push it. It takes everyone to do that. The cold really makes a huge difference, as it is so much harder on the trucks. All of our trucks have diesel engines, and the cold causes the fuel to gel up sometimes. We take preventive measures to try to not let that happen.”

As for safety tips, Coby said to give extra time to the traveling process. He advised to warm up the car and to make sure the windows are all clear.

“We can’t emphasize enough to slow down,” he said. “You should be able to get around pretty decently if you take it slow.”

Other safety precautions come from the schools. Greenville City Schools Superintendent Doug Fries said he drives the roads, particularly rural roads, to check conditions for buses to run their routes.

“I often apply brakes to make sure conditions are okay for bus traffic without sliding,” he said. “I also check if city and county road crews are out treating roads, and if that appears to be helping.”

The condition of the school parking lots, sidewalks and entrances are also checked, to see how much time is needed to clear them to get ready to open, Fries said.

“In addition, we check the condition of our fleet, to make sure buses will start and run effectively,” he said. “In cold conditions, we check this the day before. We consider if more visible light will be helpful on back roads and city sidewalks, and sometime delay for this reason. We also take into account the forecast for ice, snow and cold blowing conditions, and try to make the best decision. There is also conversation that takes place with other area superintendents, to see what conditions they are seeing close by.”

The NWS forecast for the rest of the week includes the following: Wednesday’s high near 17, and a slight chance of snow showers in the afternoon, with wind chill values as low as negative 16; Thursday, partly sunny, with a high near 11 and a low around negative four; Friday, partly sunny and cold, with a high near seven and a low around negative five; Saturday, mostly sunny, with a high near 12 and a low around six; Sunday, mostly cloudy, with a high near 31, a low around 27 and a chance of precipitation around 70 percent.

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Courtesy photo photo

Courtesy photo photo

By Carolyn Harmon

[email protected]

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to

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