If you have lived in South Florida for just one summer, you know that at times meteorologists talk about the "feels like" temperature. But what exactly goes into figuring out the "feels like temperature?"
It sounds simple enough, right?
Generally. it is what it feels like to you as you step outside. This can be for both winter and summer types of weather because both the wind chill and heat index can be considered the "feels like" temperature.
There are different factors for the wind chill and heat index and since we rarely get a wind chill here in SFL, I’ll focus more on the heat index.
The heat index or "feels like" temperature is an index that combines the air temperature and the relative humidity to determine what the temp feels like to humans.
Here is the actual equation that goes into figuring out the heat index.
HI = -42.379 + 2.04901523T + 10.14333127R - 0.22475541TR - 6.83783x10-3T2
- 5.481717x10-2R2 + 1.22874x10-3T2R + 8.5282x10-4TR2 - 1.99x10-6T2R2
Lots of numbers and letters that correspond to constants and variables but you don’t need to be concerned with the math behind the heat index. You just need to know that when the heat index is high you are going to sweat.
We all know that we have lots of humidity here in South Florida. Some days you walk outside and barely break a sweat but on other days, the minute you walk outside, the small beads of sweat form on your temples or in the small of your back. That is the body’s way of cooling itself off because as you sweat and it then evaporates that process pulls heat away from your body.
We have all had the days where you have your best outfit on and you can’t cool down. You stick to your car seat, you're uncomfortable and just wish that you could cool off.
Blame Mother Nature for your look going down the drain because on days where the relative humidity is high, the rate at which your sweat dries and the heat is pulled from your body is lower. As a result, you retain more heat and just want to lie down on the terrazzo floor to cool down.
This table is from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
As you can see, when we have a forecasted high temperature of 91 degrees and the relative humidity will be near or above 60 percent, it will feel like 100 - 105 degrees. On these days heat-related emergencies are possible and you need to stay even more hydrated.
So the next time you are getting ready for the day and planning your outfit, the kid’s summer camp, or a trip to the pool, make sure you check the "feels like" temperature. That is what the temperature will actually feel like to you as you spend another day here in paradise!
Whew, I need a Popsicle.