SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - As we enter the proverbial dog days of summer I’m sure many of you are getting tired of us referencing what the ‘feels-like’ temperatures are going to be. But talking about this number is very important when we take into consideration those of you in the community who spend lots of time outdoors in the heat. Due to the near constant high humidity we will see for the foreseeable future it is important to understand what ‘feels-like’ temperatures actually means.
The Heat Index or ‘feels-like’ temperature is officially known as the Apparent Temperature. This is what the body thinks the temperature is when you combine the air temperature with the relative humidity. When we spend time in the heat our bodies heat up and the way our bodies cool ourselves off is through sweating. But its not the sweat itself that helps cool our bodies it is the sweat evaporating that helps cool the body. The problem is the higher both the temperature and especially the humidity is, the slower that process is. The more humid it is, the warmer the body feels it is, thus we get the ‘feels-like’ temperature. High relative humidity is so important to how our bodies cool ourselves that in extreme low humidity the Heat Index can actually be LESS than the actual air temperature.
This is especially important for us in the deep south as we are treated to nonstop heat and humidity for three to four months every year. The humidity is high nearly every day and with our average high in Shreveport during the peak summer around 95 degrees Heat Disorders are particular big problem for the ArkLaTex. During the worst of summer heat the humidity can effectively prevent the body from cooling and can make Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke much more likely. Know the signs of each and try to limit your time outside as much as possible during peak heating in the afternoon.
The KSLA First Alert Weather Team will keep you updated on the potential impacts of the heat on the ArkLaTex. Here’s how you can get the First Alert with the latest forecast: