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Humidity and what it does to you

As average high temperatures continue to increase the later we get into June, another pesky aspect of the atmosphere also increases... humidity. Humidity is defined as the maximum amount of moisture in the air at a specific temperature. The higher the humidity, the hotter it feels. When forecasting for humidity, a common tool to look at is the dewpoint temperature.

The closer/ higher the dewpoint temperature is compared to the air temperature, the increased amount of moisture there is in the atmosphere. The ABC17 Humidity Tracker gives a rough description on what the dewpoint conditions feel like. This graph can very depending on what people are used to based on the geography. For example, someone from a drier atmosphere climatology such as the elevated parts of Colorado might feel the affects of humidity at lower dewpoints than someone would in the Midwest or south.

The reasoning behind feeling increased heat is due to the evaporation process with higher humidity. Whenever the atmosphere holds more moisture, it slows the natural process of evaporation down leading to less cooling for the human body. This is why people often observe sweat more with higher amounts of humidity. Humidity also affects the heat index. The heat index takes into affect the humidity and the air actual temperature to give you a "feels like" temperature.

Whenever the heat index climbs to 105 degrees or over, a Weather Alert Day is issued by the ABC17 Stormtrack Weather Team to allow viewers to prepare and adjust their day accordingly. This combination of higher temperatures paired with high humidity can increase the chances for heat related illnesses.

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Chance Gotsch

Chance Gotsch grew up just south of St. Louis and moved to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri to pursue a degree in Atmospheric Sciences.

His interest in weather begin as a child when he used to be afraid of storms.

Chance joined the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team in February 2021. He is currently the weekday noon meteorologist.


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