The phenomenon which I am going to lecture on today, Company, is called the "feels like" temperature. This is a relatively modern idea, which came to be in the TV weather and Internet generations to explain something called "wind chill" to people who are fucking stupid.
Wind Chill is a meteorological term that is used to describe the the effects of wind on the human body during weather. Air, when moved across the skin, produces a cooling effect. This works great in the summertime, because it makes you feel cooler when it is hot out. Tropical breezes and all that jazz. No one ever, never ever, in the summer goes "No, I would like to go sit somewhere stifling, please."
You sit near a window, or on a porch, or on top of a mountain like Wilson Phillips, because the wind has a cooling effect on your skin. Unfortunately, but rather predictably, the same holds true in the winter. Wind, when moving across your skin, will cause it to feel colder in the wintertime. In winter, though, you get some added bonus features. Because not only does it feel colder, but the effects of cold on the human person are accelerated accordingly. So when it is cold and windy, one turns into an ice cube faster than if it were just cold. Or just windy, I suppose.
Anyway, it is important, in northern areas especially, to know what the wind chill might be outside, so the good folks over at science whipped up a chart for us. So, using said chart, I can see that if it is 5° F outside, and the wind is blowing at 30 miles per hour, then, as far as your human body and its ability to inherit frostbite is concerned, it might as well be -19° F, and you will get frostbite in 10 minutes. Good luck with that.
The opposite of Wind Chill is something called the Heat Index, which works the other way when it is hot out. It takes into effect the humidity in the air, and gives an idea of how hot it effectively is to the human body. Damp and muggy air make the evaporation of sweat off your stinky pits much less effective, so your body, when it is humid, cannot cool itself as well.
Science made a chart for that, too. So again, if it is 92° F, and the relative humidity is 55%, it is basically like being in 101° F temperatures as far as your body is concerned, and you should act accordingly.
It all seems pretty simple, doesn't it, Company? Several meteorological factors, when all added together, can cause the outside conditions (or inside if you really wanted to apply it, I suppose) to be a little deceptive. So one should plan accordingly when doing outdoor activities.
Something happened somewhere along the way, though. Somewhere that really simple, basic understanding became too much for us. And the media types picked up on it. And suddenly the heat index and the wind chill got together, had a few Alabama Slammers, hooked up in a Shoney's bathroom and bread something called the "Feels Like Temperature."
And in reality, the Feels Like Temperature isn't a bad idea. I just takes all of the factors that go into wind chill, and all of the factors that go into the heat index, and combine them together. And it gives a person an approximation of, well, what it feels like to your body outside. The problem, as far as I can see, is the catchy title they have given to it, and the fact that it has completely pushed the actual temperature out the window. Let me give you some examples.
I keep hearing and seeing it's going to be -50 ish up in Wisconsin. Please be safe, folks.
I don't miss this shit winter weather.
I don't miss this shit winter weather.
Nice sentiment for sure. But misinformation. Temperatures were not -50 in Wisconsin a the time. Wind chills were approaching that range. But actual temperature? Not so much. How about another?
-26 on the 26th.
Again, we have a fundamental misunderstanding. It is not -26° on the 26th. The Feels Like Temperature is -26° on the 26th. Those are two very different things. But people just don't understand the difference.
They cannot differentiate between temperature and Feels Like Temperature.
I suppose it doesn't matter in the end. If the Feels Like Temperature is the one that is really useful to a person in their daily life, then it makes sense to go by that. I get it. But I don't like it. In fact it pisses me off. It hits me right in the feels. The feels like.
See what I did there?