Is the heat index a hoax? No!

Courtesy Andy Cerota
Courtesy Andy Cerota

Our first real attention this year to the feels-like temps, or heat index, comes today and tomorrow as high temperatures range from 90-92 while humidity lands in the 45% range (that combo produces a heat index of 100). Keep in mind that if we get two days in a row of 108 for a feels-like temperature we also get heat warnings.

I’ve had people question the heat index saying, “How can you tell me how hot it feels TO ME?” I get that and, honestly, I can’t. The simple idea is that our body cools itself by sweating. That sweat evaporates into the air, producing the cooling, but if the air is already full of humidity (moisture) then your sweat-cooling effect obviously slows down. This can leave you in dangerous territory for a heat stroke (my dad had one, they are real).

So the heat index that has been developed is based on the temperature, the humidity and the “apparent” temperatures in the shade. Here is the NWS table:

Heat Index Table

This is just a guideline as every person and most circumstances vary. Your metabolism, weight, age, health and what clothes you’re wearing can all play a part in determining just how hot your body gets and how its ability to cool itself. And again, those numbers are in the shade. Full sun can add an easy 15 degrees to how warm the temperatures are and, thus, how warm it feels to you.

Bottom line: don’t take the heat lightly. Wear cool, loose clothing, hats, sunscreen and stay hydrated. Take breaks when you need them!

Here’s a positive note: we’re only expecting this to last a couple of days and the long-range forecast for next week, May 11-17, puts us in the 80s for highs and 60s for lows! So we can say goodbye to the 90s and extreme Feels Like temps for a bit!

Cooler Next Week

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