Dry Heat is an awful thing that most western regions of the United States seem to have to contend with, especially in the desert-city of St. George Utah. But, what can sometimes be worse than “dry heat” is that of heat plagued by humidity.
Some people don’t even think that dry heat is a real weather-type that exists. But, it does. Either factor of heat is miserable to experience. However, humid heat and dry heat are very different climate types.
UNDERSTANDING “THE HEAT INDEX”
In order for you to learn the difference between humid heat and dry heat, it is important for you to understand the heat index. The heat index is a scale that is used to measure the moisture or humidity in the air.
When there is more moisture in the air, the temperature feels hotter than it actually is in real life. It is exactly the opposite of the common scale used to measure moisture in the air during winter-time, which is referred to as “the wind chill factor.”
WHAT IS DRY HEAT?
Dry heat could be considered plain old heat, minus the humidity. Yet, it is still a term utilized to describe hot temperatures within specific regions, like St. George, Utah, which possess drier climates.
Dry heat is often present consistently in an environment that does not experience a lot of rain-fall. Hence the phrase you hear a lot around St. George, “It’s a dry heat today.”
WHAT IS HUMID HEAT?
Humid heat is when the temperature in the air consists of a certain level of moisture. When there is more moisture in the air, the body’s ability to cool down through sweating is hindered.
The measure of humidity on the heat index scale is based on percentage. The higher the humidity, the higher the heat index. Humid heat is the miserable heat that “feels heavy.” This is the reason that the temperature “feels” hotter when the percentage of the humidity is higher.
HUMID HEAT, DRY HEAT, AND THE HEAT INDEX: THE DANGERS
No matter what type of climate or region you live in, exposure to the extreme heat can be a very dangerous thing. In climates like southern Utah having a reliable air conditioner is essential. Being exposed to high temperatures during the summer months in St. George can cause a number of adverse and very serious health effects including:
- Heat Exhaustion: The pre-requisite of a heat stroke involving the body’s initial “shock” reflex of too much exposure to the heat.
- Heat Stroke: A very serious and sometimes deadly reaction to prolonged exposure to heat causing cessation of sweating, an increase in body temperature to above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and unconsciousness.
HANDLING THE HEAT IN ST. GEORGE
When the heat index is high, be sure to drink enough plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, to find shade if outdoors and out of direct sunlight, and when heat advisories are out- heed them by taking shelter in an air conditioned atmosphere.
Whether it is dry or humid out, you need to be cautious when exposed to high temperatures. Be sure to become educated on the signs and symptoms of dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion. Those more prone to experience heat-related illnesses are: children, women who are pregnant, individuals who have underlying health issues, and especially the elderly.