What exactly is the ‘feels like’ temperature and how does it work?

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**** Info via Environment Canada

Feels like?


Canada’s cold spot on the morning of November 18, 2020 was Mayo, YT at – 35°C.  And with winter approaching, we can expect more of us to experience cold weather. So let’s make sure we are ready.


Current conditions across Canada on the morning of November 18, 2020.

What exactly is the ‘feels like’ temperature and how does it work?

The temperatures that we normally see on our weather app or on the WeatherOffice website are the measured readings from a thermometer of the actual temperature of the air. However this measurement does not take into account how we experience temperature. Therefore, during certain times of the year, we use the ‘feels like’ temperature to give us a better idea about the sensation of the weather outside.

Our ‘feels like’ temperature takes into account wind speeds and humidity to assess how the human body actually feels temperature. For example when the air temperature drops below 0°C, any ambient wind can make conditions feel colder than the measured (or “true” air) temperature would indicate.

In this case, the ‘feels like’ temperature is also known as “wind chill”.

Conversely, high humidity in the summer can make it feel uncomfortably hotter than the air temperature would suggest. In this case, the ‘feels like’ temperature is also known as the “humidex” reading.

In both these cases the ‘feels like’ temperature – expressed simply as a number, and not in units of °C – helps us to make a better assessment of the conditions outdoors.

Top 5 Canadian cities with the most high wind chill days (-30 or less):

  1. Yellowknife, NT: 101.27 days
  2. Thompson, MB: 83.25 days
  3. Brandon, MB: 49.73 days
  4. Winnipeg, MB: 48.98 days
  5. Yorkton, SK: 47.79 days

Note that our forecasts indicate ‘feels like’ temperatures only when the air temperature is at or below 0°C (as wind chill) or at or above 25°C (as humidex).

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