Heat Vs. Humidity: Which is Worse?

June 22, 2016 02:14 PM

People love to complain about the weather, and the “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” argument is a perennial summertime favorite. But which is actually worse – dry heat or humid heat?

The Weather Channel recently aired a light-hearted segment where two viewers squared off on the subject. Forecasters also sent out a Twitter poll asking if it was better to spend time outside when it was 90 degrees and humid or 120 degrees and arid. A majority (62%) said they’d rather chance the dry heat.

While personal preference makes the argument somewhat of a subjective one, there are objective, measurable differences between drier and more humid air. These differences are quantified with the heat index. The differences can be significant, too – for example, a 90-degree summer day at 70% relative humidity will feel like it’s 105.

The differences make hot, humid air quantifiably more dangerous, too – the National Weather Service will issue warnings when the heat index is expected to exceed 105-110 degrees for two consecutive days.


For the rest of this week, AgDay meteorologist Mike Hoffman says temperatures will be dialed up well into the 90s across areas such as the Southwest, Southeast and western Corn Belt. Even so, other areas – including the northern Plains and upper Midwest – will be spared scorching temperatures for now.

Here’s Hoffman’s short-term weather outlook for farm country.

Want more video news? Watch it on AgDay.

What’s the hottest weather you’ve ever endured? Share your story in the comments section below.


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Spell Check

Brad shultz
Gordon , NE
6/22/2016 11:12 PM

  The summer of 1980 in central Kansas. We had a couple weeks the high was 115 to 117, and there was enough humidity to hold the night time temps above 90 degrees. We couldn't work wheat ground in the daytime because the tractors would overheat.


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