Wind Chill and Black Ice

We are just getting over a cold stretch here in Georgia. Over night temperatures in the teens and twenties (F) which is unusual for the southern US. Had about an inch of snow on Tuesday. Since the southern US municipalities are not equipped for snow removal and icy road treatment; everything comes to a halt until it thaws. Schools and government offices close. Luckily temperatures do not stay below freezing for long and the snow and ice melts in a day or so.

I have commented in the past about the media’s penchant for the dramatic for any occasion; even if drama is not appropriate. Our weather event was no exception:

Wind Chill –
When temperatures drop below normal it seems the weather reporters are not satisfied that the actual temperature reading are dramatic enough, they switch to reporting “wind chill” temperatures instead of actual. Seems that they feel that 19 degrees wind chill is more dramatic than reporting the actual temperature of 24. I realize that there is some science behind calculating wind chill by combining temperature and wind speed values in order to express how cold it might feel. But, I do not need them to tell me how cold it “feels” rather than how cold it “is”. Every individual is different and reacts to cold slightly differently. I am the only one who can decide how cold I feel when it is cold out. The weather reporters should stick to reporting the facts and let us decide how cold we feel at a certain temperature.

Black Ice –
On wintry days reporters like to caution against “black ice”. News flash, ice is frozen water. Water is colorless and ice is typically transparent. Pavement is black, regardless of how warm or cold it is. So, when you have a thin sheet of ice on top of pavement and you look at it you see the black pavement beneath the transparent layer of ice. But it is just “ice”! It is not “black ice”! Why can’t they just report that there is ice on the road?

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