Posts Tagged ‘heat index’

How hot do you feel?

June 21, 2008

We have all heard the sayings “But it’s a dry heat” and “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.” Both are true to an extent.

In an arid desert, sweat evaporates as quickly as it emerges, allowing the body’s cooling mechanism to work very well. But a temperature of 120 degrees is just plain hot, no matter how dry it may be.

For most of us, humidity is a major factor of discomfort in hot weather. The higher the humidity, the hotter it feels for a given temperature because sweat cannot carry away the heat so easily. This map shows the current heat index or felt temperature at various locations in the country. The effect is not only physiological; humid air contains more heat and is harder to cool, making electriciy bills higher in humid regions.

Summer has just officially begun, but the Metroplex has already endured over a month of temperatures 90 degrees or higher with over three weeks at 95 degrees or higher and usually accompanied by elevated humidity. We probably have about three more months of this…