Thursday, July 21, 2005

Forget The Heat Index, It's Just Hot Outside

It's safe to say the DC area is securely in the midst of its sweat-through-your-work-clothes-while-driving-home summer period. I'm sure my dry cleaners love this time since just about anything you wear for any length of time outside will need a good cleaning. The only good from this heat is you find out just how good or bad your deodorant is against the oppressive heat. My tried and true brand hasn't failed me in the four years I've used it, though I won't get into the business of product placement/promotion unless I get compensated for this (hint) "Cool Wave" scented protection.

According to my friends and trusted weatherfolk at, the heatwave's end won't happen for at least another week. Sure, I'll still play ultimate frisbee downtown on Sunday, but I had better bring lots of water. One of the many things I like about getting my weather from, is they don't waste our time by listing the "heat index". Does anyone really care about the heat index? If the temperature is above 85, it's going to be hot, so all we need to know is if there'll be no or a lot of humidity.

The heat index tells (those who actually care) what the outdoor temperature feels like when you factor in the dew point (essentially humidity) level. Great, just great. So it's going to be 94 today, yet our local weatherperson let's us know with the humidity, it's going to feel like 99. Wow, that really changed my clothing plans for the day. Ya know, at first I thought if it's going to be 94, I'll just wear my wool sweater and dress slacks, but now that my annoyingly teased radio/TV weatherperson said it's going to feel like 99, I guess NOW I should think about shorts and a t-shirt. Please.

Does the heat index really do anything more than add to water cooler/awkward elevator talk in the office? I think that if It's going to be in the 90's for the next week, that's enough for people to go on when deciding their plans. All I want to know each day is the temperature, any chance of rain, and if it's going to very humid. Sure, the heat index combines the temperature and humidity readings, but 96 with no humidity is more comfortable than 90 "that feels like 96", so that doesn't really clear things up for me. Plus, if the temperature is 90 and the heat index pushes it to 96, the average listener/viewer like myself doesn't know if that means it'll be a little or very humid.

For the record, this is not me (nor will there ever be any pictures of me on this blog), but some random picture of someone sweaty courtesy of google images.

I bet the heat index was created by radio and TV meteorologists to improve their banter with the show's anchor. The anchorperson says, "so it looks like we'll reach 90 today." Of course everyone on air must keep their huge egos in tact so the meteorologist must sound smart and retorts with, "that's right, but you must factor in the heat index, so the real temperature is closer to 95."

I'm sorry, but if it's 90 in the summer, the heat index does not make any difference other than it's incredibly hot outside so dress accordingly.

1 comment:

eric said...

I feel just as strongly about the wind chill factor. Keep up the good fight, my brother.