We have a new weather person on one of our local stations. Her profile says that she is actually a meteorologist, but that appears to be in question. For on the July 12, 2012 10 p.m. CDT broadcast, she said, “There is nothing worse, I think, than having the really hot temperatures, but the fact that we’ve just had this drought for so long, it makes it that much worse because the dryer air is able to heat up faster. So, that’s why we get those heat index values so incredibly high.”
In an attempt to allow her to retreat some from the position she took, I emailed the following to her. I would like to thank you for setting the record straight (indirectly) about 110 Degrees in Phoenix not being so bad because it is a "dry heat" by explaining that dry air heats up faster, which is the why heat indexes get so incredibly high, last Saturday on the 10 p.m. newscast. For I have been in 110 degree heat in Phoenix, and it sure didn't feel all that good! Of course, you might have a tough time convincing the rest of the meteorologists out there. For they have been explaining that the heat index is derived from air temperature and humidity, with the higher the humidity, the higher the heat index.
She sent the following reply. Of course. I always like to try and explain what I know to the viewers out there. While heat index is a result of the air temp and humidity, it chances vastly from region to region.
Thanks for watching!
If you don’t get it, the [heat index] indicates what it really feels like, which is derived from a combination of the actual air temperature and the relative humidity in a given area. In other words, it is just like [wind chill] that is talked about by meteorologists in the winter time, which is derived from a combination of the actual air temperature and the wind strength in a given area.
In an attempt to connect dots a little further for you, it is true that heat indexes can vary greatly from area to area, but this has nothing to do with how dry the air is. That is, except in reverse of what she was saying. For areas near bodies of water (stream, rivers, swamps, large ponds, lakes and oceans) can have much higher heat indexes than those with the same actual air temperature that are not so near bodies of water on account of the relative humidity usually being much higher near bodies of water.
I was advised against clearly identifying her. Suffice to say that she is fairly smokin’ hot in appearance, and her voice doesn’t sound like fingernails scraping a chalkboard. Therefore, she should have a successful career as an on-air personality on local news outlets, but this is a far cry from truly being a meteorologist—let alone a journalist.
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