SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — We’ve all had to deal with temperatures in the 90s before but on a dry day, the heat is so much more manageable. It’s the humidity that’s the real kicker and this weekend, we saw dew points in the 70s, which is oppressive.
Some locals say this weekend has been far from what they’d prefer.
“Oh I’d say, uh, a crisp 75, where I’m not just sweating from walking from my car door to the front door,” Mike Callini, a Holyoke resident, told 22News.
“Dry — I think everyone would prefer dry. It weighs you down, the humidity,” added Michael Hardy.
But there’s a scientific reason why the humidity makes it feel so much worse. The heat index, or feels-like temperature, takes into account the actual temperature and humidity. When it’s hot out, you sweat, but when it’s extremely humid it’s harder for your sweat to evaporate off your skin, which is what cools you down.
So, your body is warmer when dew points are high. There is a direct relationship between the air temperature, humidity, and the heat index, as you can see in this graphic from the National Weather Service.
Heat indixes are especially dangerous when they reach over 100 degrees, which is why excessive heat warnings were in effect all weekend long in western Massachusetts.
Temperatures rose into the mid to upper 90s on Saturday, which combined with the high humidity, brought feels-like temperatures closer to 110 degrees. At that point, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are possible if you don’t hydrate enough and take breaks from the sun in an air-conditioned room.
The heatwave will break on Monday and Tuesday with temperatures back in the 80s and 70s. A noticeable drop in humidity is ahead Wednesday and Thursday.