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Daryl Ritchison, WDAY, Published July 17 2013

Weather Talk: Dew point better indicator of hot-day comfort levels

The air temperature is 92 degrees; the relative humidity is 43 percent. Is it humid outside? My strong suspicion is that most individuals given those two numbers would probably say “no.” If I added the hint that the dew point under that scenario was 66 degrees, would your answer change? Many of you with an understanding of dew point may say “yes.”

The previous example was from Tuesday afternoon. I took a few calls in the weather center that day asking me what the humidity level was. When I stated 43 percent, there was much disbelieve on the other end of the phone, as the callers thought the relative humidity must be 70 or 80 percent.

Because relative humidity is relative to the air temperature, dew point tends to be a better indicator of comfort levels. Dew points in the 40 or 50s you tend to be comfortable, in the 60s most find it humid and in the 70s, sultry and miserable.


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