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06/17/2018

Muggy Meter: Why We Care About the Dew Point?

Question: What's the dew point got to do with it? 

Answer: A lot! 

Once spring hits, the WDRB meteorologists talk about the dew point all the time on WDRB News. In fact, we discuss it almost every time we are on the air! It can tell us so much! How comfortable it will feel out sound or if we could see severe weather.  Today's dew points are back in the sticky seventies!

  Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.15.38 AM

But I also get a lot of people that ask "What's the humidity today?" Or "Why not mention the humidity?" 

So let's start there...

Relative humidity is defined by the National Weather Service as "the amount of atmospheric moisture present relative to the amount that would be present if the air were saturated. Since the latter amount is dependent on temperature, relative humidity is a function of both moisture content and temperature. As such, relative humidity by itself, does not indicate the actual amount of atmospheric moisture present."

Uhh, okay...?? 

In layman's terms, this basically mean that because it is taking into account TWO properties, it will not accurately tell us how dry or sticky it is outside. 

For example, in the morning or winter, it is common to see the relative humidity at 90-100%, because the air temperature is close to or meeting the dew point, but that doesn't mean it is actually sticky out. In fact, (as you might notice with flaky itchy skin) winter is a very dry season. Then today, a very humid day, it is only 55%. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.17.54 AM

    (Dew point enters stage right)

The dew point measures the moisture in the atmosphere.  When thinking of dew points remember this: The higher the dew point = the more moisture present in the air = the more uncomfortable it will feel.

Therefore, when we are talking about muggy "air that you wear" days - you will hear the WDRB Weather Team mentioning the dew point rather than the relative humidity, because it is the more accurate term to use. And in my opinion way easier to understand.  

To understand this even more, you can break dew points down into categories of about 5 degrees. 

A dew point of . . .

60-65 degrees: A magical number when you start to notice the humidity. 60 degrees is also the number when severe weather becomes a possible. 

65-60 degrees: It is steamy and getting uncomfortable. 

70+ degrees: Miserable and oppressive. 

So today we have dew points ranging from 71 degrees to 75 degrees. Which is a very sticky to miserable day. Not only that, but we also have very high air temperatures as well today. 

7-21 muggy meter

The air temperature + the dew point = heat index aka "feels like"

Now that temps have risen well into the 90s with dew points in the low to mid 70s, it will feel like the low triple digits the next few days! You can get an idea of how the heat index works with this calculator

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 11.15.21 AM

We will get a bit of relief from the heat later this week! Find out when on WDRB News this evening with Hannah! I will also be in for Jude one more day on WDRB in the Morning from 5-9 am! 

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-Katie McGraw 

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