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Explained: Why humid weather can feel so much worse!
Updated: Tuesday, August 26 2014, 04:10 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Josh Knight) -- Living in the Ohio valley Local 12 Meteorologists talk about humidity a lot.
Hot summer days are one thing but when it's muggy, it feels so much worse. Humidity is a measure of how much water vapor is in the air. How much water is floating around as a gas.
It cannot be seen but dew point is one way to measure it. To understand dew point, first a person has to understand that air can hold a certain amount of water vapor depending on the temperature. Hotter air can hold more moisture while lower temperatures can't hold as much.
The dew point is the temperature the outside air has to drop so that dew would start to form. At what temperature does the water vapor, a gas, condense and turn back into a liquid? So dew point is a "direct measurement" of the amount of moisture in the air. Higher dew point means more moisture.
So why can more moisture make you feel so miserable?
To regulate body temperature humans sweat. But that's just the first part, the sweat has to go somewhere, it has to evaporate. Without the evaporation a person is just left wet which is really where the muggy and oppressive feeling comes from. As sweat evaporates into the air it takes body heat with it and that's actually what cools a person off.
On any given day the air can only hold so much moisture. So depending on how much moisture, or humidity, Mother Nature already has in the mix, the human body's air conditioner, or sweat, might not have anywhere to go and people are left feeling hotter than the thermometer actually says.
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