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What does a wind chill of 30 degrees below zero feel like?

It's not immediately possible to determine the last time it felt this cold throughout Western New York.

The National Weather Service doesn't archive wind chill values the way it does air temperatures, but, it's fair to say this will be the coldest Buffalo has been chilled in years.

How cold is a wind chill of 30 degrees below zero?

Wind chills as low as -30 in forecast for Western New York

If you have to be outdoors across the Buffalo Niagara region over the next few days (which is not recommended), you're about to find out.

Weather service forecasters insist precautions must be taken. Dress in at least three layers, they advise. Gloves, hats, boots and a face mask are essential gear.

"Once you get below -20, that's when within 30 minutes, if your skin is exposed, it will result in frostbite," said Heather Kenyon, a weather service meteorologist in Buffalo.

(National Weather Service)

The weather service expects that to happen.

Friday through Saturday afternoon will bring the worst of the wind chills to Western New York.

"The winds are going to be the strongest during that period, and temperatures are going to be the coldest," Kenyon said.

Northwest winds could gust above 30 mph at times and combine with air temperatures in the single digits to keep wind chills at dangerously cold levels between -20 and -25.

It could even approach 30 below in some valleys southeast of metro Buffalo where air temperatures drop further, forecast models show.

The weather service has wind chill warnings posted for all of Western New York from tonight until early Sunday.

The reason wind chills are dangerous is that the winds and cold temperatures combine to more rapidly pull heat out of the body.

Just a loss of a couple degrees of body heat can result in hypothermia, according to experts.

Hypothermia can be life-threatening.

Here are some of the warning signs, according to the weather service:

(National Weather Service)

A few years ago, Buffalo News sports reporter Mike Harrington briefly braved -30 air during a stop in Winnipeg covering the Sabres.

That was the air temperature.

Here was his reaction:

Air temperatures aren't expected to drop that far in Buffalo, but they'll still shatter records for early January.

Three Buffalo records are expected to fall Friday and Saturday:

  • The record low temperature for Friday, -4 degrees, was set on Jan. 5, 1996. The forecast calls for -5.
  • The lowest high temperature for Friday is 9 degrees, set in 1912. The forecast high is 3.
  • The lowest high temperature for Saturday is 9 degrees, set in 1912. The forecast high is 1.
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