Wesley's Blog: Humidity on the Gulf Coast

Wesley's Blog: Humidity on the Gulf Coast

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - This weekend will feel rather summer-like across much of the Gulf Coast. Sure, the air temperature will warm into the 80s. But, that's just half the story. The other half is the dew point.

Technically, the dew point, or dew point temperature, is the temperature to which air must cool in order for moisture, or dew, to form. In other words, it's a measure of how much moisture is in the air. Typically, the higher the dew point, the more muggy it feels.

For summer in the southeast US, dew points in the 50s indicate comfortable, dry air. Dew points in the 60s means that you'll start to notice a sticky feel in the air.
Once the dew points reach the 70s, it will be uncomfortably humid. Sometimes the dew point can even get into the 80s... at that point, the air becomes oppressively thick.

Keep in mind not to confuse dew point temperatures with relative humidity. Dew points are almost always equal to or less than the current temperature... hardly ever higher than the actual air temperature. Relative humidity is an indicator of how close the air is to saturation; it's a percentage from 0% to 100%.

Typically, the closer the air temperature and dew point temperature are, the higher percentage the relative humidity will be. For example, Perkinston's Saturday morning air temperature cooled to 69° and the dew point was also 69°: that produced a relative humidity of 100%. But, if the Perkinston air temperature warms to about 85° this afternoon (and the dew point stays at 69°), the relative humidity will only be at 59% (play around with this handy relative humidity calculator to see for yourself).

A relative humidity of 59% sounds like it wouldn't be that humid, right? But it will still feel humid since the dew point is nearly 70 degrees. I feel that relative humidity can be a misleading way to represent the how humid it feels outside. So, I prefer to use dew points to explain our muggy conditions, instead.

The WLOX Weather Team will inform you of south Mississippi's temperature forecast on air, online, and using social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Periscope.

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