Heat Index: Here’s how the index is calculated

6 Storm Team Weather School

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – What is the heat index?

Well, the heat index takes into account temperature and humidity. It indicates how it feels on your body and on your skin. How does it feel out there, the actual humidity and temperature?

Full sunshine increases the heat index, because there’s plenty more heat to deal with, and it helps with moisture in the atmosphere.

Here’s how it works: You take the air temperature, which is at 92 degrees, and the relative humidity, which is 60%, you go to 105. That’s what the heat index is.

How about 65% humidity? You’re looking at 108 degree heat index at 92 degree temperature, so you’ll see the hotter it gets and the muggier it gets, the harder it gets to cool the body.

Speaking of cooling the body, here’s how it works: in low humidity, sweat evaporates and removes body heat.

That’s why we say, “Wow, when its dry air and low humidity, it’s not nearly as sticky,” because the body can cool itself. Drier air allows moisture to evaporate, which cools the body. And of course, in high humidity, you’ve got more moisture.

Moisture limits evaporation, which makes us feel pretty uncomfortable. Sweat evaporation slows down. Bottom line, you’ve got to take care of yourself and be careful if you’re going to be outside.

Here are some heat safety tips for you:

  • Stay hydrated, lots of beverages, water, those sorts of things.
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Wear loose, light clothing so the body can breathe.
  • Take frequent breaks, even if you think you don’t need a break, take a break.
  • Check on the elderly, the pets, those sorts of things, and we’ll get through this summer season of course safely.

Heat safety tips, heat index, be careful. Don’t take it for granted.

This article is part of the WATE 6 Storm Weather School


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