Heat Index- the real deal - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Heat Index- the real deal

National Weather Service National Weather Service

This week the story is the heat and the humidity! With highs reaching the mid 90s, the heat index could easily reach 100-103 degrees!  

Moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, with S and SW winds are creating some pretty hot and humid conditions in our area for this week and weekend. Temperatures will continue to rise, yes, but the humidity levels will increase as well. The combination of the two is a recipe for a muggy, stuffy and even dangerous heat index!

As a refresher, the heat index, as is the case with wind chill in the winter, is what we call “apparent temperature”.  Apparent temperatures affect how the air feels to us compared to what the temperature actually is.  With heat and humidity, many factors like clothing, blood viscosity, moisture in the air and the actual temperature itself affect how uncomfortable you are. The combination of heat and humidity starts to reach dangerous levels once they approach the upper 90s and low 100s—something we’ll certainly see this weekend across the Mid-South.  

When the temperatures and humidity levels get too high, your body has a harder time trying to produce sweat, or cool itself down.  This can lead to heat stroke, heat exhaustion and even death in extreme cases.

Attached is the heat index chart from the National Weather Service that shows the temperature matched with its corresponding heat index number. As you move into the red category, the combination of heat and humidity starts to get dangerous, even life-threatening. 

As you all know, high heat index numbers are common here in the Mid-South, so it is of course important to find ways to cool down.  We covered some of these ways in a previous weather blog a few weeks ago. You can take a look at that here.

Everyone loves having fun in the summer sun (including Zimm, the escaped monkey from the Memphis Zoo!) but be sure to use caution in the heat and look out for those heat indices so you and your family can enjoy the summer and stay safe!

Meteorologist Andrew Kozak and Meteorologist Intern Adam Bowles

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