RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dangerously cold temperatures are on the way to Central Virginia and extreme wind chills are expected to be seen heading into the holiday weekend.

What is wind chill? This term is used to describe how the air feels on our skin. Will it feel like the actual temperature outside? Or will it feel a bit colder than it should? This phenomenon is created entirely by the wind, but only when the weather is already cold. If we have a high wind speed, the colder the air will feel. 

The actual temperature outside will stay the same, but it will feel cooler to us. This is because the wind will take away the heat that we naturally emit and blow it away from our bodies. The faster the wind, the faster this natural heat will be taken away. Basically, the term “wind chill” is used to describe how the temperature feels outside through the combination of the actual temperature and wind speed.

For example, on Friday our temperatures will drop into the upper 20s, but the winds will be so strong it will feel like temperatures will be in the single digits. Saturday morning, our actual temperatures will drop into the teens, but our wind chill will be 0 degrees or below.

Wind chill can create dangerous conditions. It would only take 30 minutes for frostbite to set in if the actual temperature was 0 degrees and the wind speed was 15 miles per hour, which would give us a wind chill of -19 degrees. By limiting your time outdoors and covering any exposed skin when you go outside, you can avoid any complications from extreme wind chill. Make sure to protect your pipes from freezing and bring outdoor pets inside during this cold snap.

Another major concern for Friday and this weekend is the possibility of a flash freeze. As temperatures drop rapidly, any water remaining on the roadways will freeze quickly creating icy conditions. This will create dangerous and slippery road conditions across portions of Central Virginia.

Bridges will be the biggest concern on Friday and even over the weekend. Temperatures are not likely to get above freezing and this will allow for bridges to stay frozen, especially as the cooler air passes below the bridge, which will serve to keep the roadway cold into next week. Drive carefully if you plan on traveling this weekend and if the roadway looks wet, slow down — it might be ice.