Humidity, that is.
And, actually, relative humidity is not a great indicator of how much moisture is in the air -- a better indicator of that is dew point (which I have discussed extensively in the past, but I probably am most concise about it in this post) -- but the title is more fitting to my general theme here today.
As most of you know, or are experiencing, it's friggin' hot out there right now for most of the country -- particularly the northeast, which is getting blanketed in sweltering temps. Since I live in FL and run in hot, humid weather on a regular basis, I can't help but compare heats. It's kind of a sadistic thing to do, but ever since I became a runner 5 years ago, I am an enthusiastic meterology student and I often compare the weather here in FL to weather elsewhere. You know. Just to see.
So, reading blogs this morning, I saw that many of you in the northeast are sweating like you're on the threshold of hell, so I figured I'd take a look at your weather. Washington, DC makes a good comparison because even though temps are varied on the NE seaboard, DC's current weather is an average of the temps. Anyhoo...in DC today, it is an awful 100 degrees. Yuck. Here in South Florida, it is 94. A little cooler. But...when we examine the two locale's differences in humidity, and particularly dew point, we see how these two heats are different kinds of hot.
In DC, the current (it's 1:30 pm as I type this) humidity is 30%. In South Florida, it is 61%. And dew point? In DC, it is 62 degrees; in FL, 72 degrees. 10 degrees doesn't seem like a whole lot, but when it is in regards to dew point, it is a HUGE difference because of how humans perceive comfort within such humidity.
Now, for other comparisons: Atlanta is a gawd awfully humid place, right? Yes, it is. Their current temp is 87, with 44% humidity. But the dew point? Same as DC's. And that's pretty consistent throughout the southeast. We all know Phoenix is hot, but it's a "dry heat" right? Yes, very, very dry: Only 14% humidity with a dew point of 39! (I think my hair would be very static-y in AZ!)
So, who has just as wet, if not sometimes wetter, heat than what we have here in the good ole swamp? Texas! My friends in Houston are swimming (I mean "running") in the same humid conditions as we are here in FL: They are currently experiencing the delightful humidity of 58% and a dewpoint of 73.
What's the point of all this comparison? Nothing, really. And I'm certainly not trying to belittle anyone's complaints about the heat because once the mercury hits triple digits, it's H-O-T no matter what, but if there's a HOT contest, and Satan is judging, I think it'd be a tie between TX and FL. Which I suppose makes all of us who run in such weather a bit C-R-A-Z-Y!