Wednesday was miserable. It was hot, humid, the air quality was bad, and what made it even worse, Gothamist is still battling a mysterious sickness he's had for almost a month now. While the temperature reached 91F, it sure as hell felt hotter than that. That would be due to the fact that the heat index was a lot higher (98F). Heat index is a measure of how hot it feels. When your body gets hot, sweating cools it through evaporation. But if the relative humidity is high, the evaporation process is slower, which in turn fails to cool your body effectively. Contrary to popular belief, temperature and humidity are not the only things that are used to calculate the heat index. Several other variables involved are set as implied values in order to make the calculation a bit simpler. Some of these more interesting variables include: dimensions of a human, clothing cover, sweating rate, effective radiation area of skin, effective wind speed, clothing resistance to heat transfer, and several others. Perhaps this can help explain why there is no true equation for heat index. Since the equation is simplified in this manner, using assumed values, it still remains only somewhat accurate.
AccuWeather has come up with what they call the RealFeel Temperature. Gothamist doesn't care much for the hokey name but they contend that it is a much more accurate representation of what the temperature feels like to a person and use it as a replacement for heat index in their weather products. You have most likely heard our local weather forecasters referring to it.
Unlike current weather indices, The RealFeel Temperature takes into account the effects of multiple parameters, including ambient temperature, wind speed, solar intensity, humidity, precipitation intensity/type, elevation and atmospheric pressure.
So while the Bermuda High has been pushed off by the Canadian cold front dropping our temperatures for now, when the city starts to heat up again, you can feel a little wiser about how it's actually going to feel. And if the heat starts to cook up the neighborhood stink too much in your neighborhood for you to handle, then you can take that up with Bloomie's quality of life campaign.