It's that time of year again when the heat begins to increase and the dreaded humidity takes over. So far, this spring season has been pleasant and comfortable, but that's not going to be the case this week.
When you want to determine whether the environment is humid or not it's best to look at the dew point, not the humidity. I know that sounds weird but the humidity is actually called relative humidity. The humidity number that's calculated in the form of a percent is actually relative, relative to its surrounding environment. Warmer environments can hold more moisture than colder environments, so a 90% humidity value in the winter can actually be LESS humid than a 50% humidity value in the summer. So just because the humidity is higher doesn't mean it's more humid, it just means that particular environment is closer to reaching full saturation. Humidity doesn't tell you the overall amount of moisture in the air, but the dew point does.
A dew point temperature is the temperature the environment would have to reach before it attains 100% saturation or 100% humidity. When dew points reach 60 degrees it begins to feel sticky. When it gets to 65 it's humid and uncomfortable, and when it reaches 70 or higher it is oppressive. Dew points are higher in the summer and lower in the winter, which is why you never hear someone describing a winter day as humid.
THIS WEEK: Dew points look to reach the upper 60s and lower 70s all week long, meaning it will be humid, uncomfortable, and very sticky. The attached image is a forecast model predicting what the dew points will be this afternoon. It's forecasting a dew point of 74 degrees in Salisbury; that is extremely humid. Stay cool out there!
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