Yes, the Feel is real

Credit: Fabio Pelegrino on

This summer we’ve talked a LOT about the heat, the advisories, and those “Feels Like” temperatures. I admit I’ve gotten a bit of pushback from viewers. For instance:

From Craig: One thing I see on the news regularly now is the use of a “Feels Like” or “Heat Index”. I really dislike these terms because they are very subjective. Any given temperature feels different to everyone potentially. For example, my wife and I can be sitting in our living room watching TV with our thermostat set on 72 degF. She will complain that it is freezing while at the same time I am burning up. She feels like it is 32 degF while it feels like 95 degF to me.

And from Richard: The Feels like temp is different for everyone. IT is based on a heat index (temp + humidity) not how you feel.

And from anonymous: The current temperature report or forecast always seems to include the Feels Like Temperatures. Why? This never was in the past.All this does is create anxiety for the viewers!!Can you please stop doing this!! Thanks

First, let me say I’ve been using the “Feels Like” temperatures since the mid 1980s on TV so that last one is just not paying attention! I would say that controlled environments like your living room are not really the point and to Richard, while the Feels Like temps may be different to some degree for each of us, they ARE about how you feel. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Here’s a graphic of just what is going on:

Humidity matters

So with less humidity you FEEL cooler regardless of how you react to a given temperature. And with more humidity you risk your body not cooling efficiently. And here is what can happen to your body:

credit: Climate Central

That can result in Heat Exhaustion and even a Heat stroke.

Heat Exhaustion Signs

On a professional and personal note, the meteorologist who came up with the Feels Like and first called it “Humiture” in 1978 is George Winterling, who pioneered television weather from 1962 to 2007 on WJXT, our sister station in Jacksonville, Florida. George passed on June 21st of this year at age 92 and he’ll be missed. I blogged about George in 2019 and just how he came up with the Feels Like idea and how he calculated it. That blog is right here. George’s idea was picked up by the National Weather Service a year later and they labeled it the “Heat Index”.

A very nice tribute to George is here on the WJXT website. I hope you’ll take a minute to learn more about this amazing man who dedicated his life to making us all weather aware and weather smart. George was a gem.

In the meantime, if you “Feel Like” emailing me with questions or comments, I’m right here! Thanks to the viewers who questioned Feels Like--I hope this has helped!


About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with four decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.