Why does the humidity make it feel so much warmer? - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Why does the humidity make it feel so much warmer?

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HERRIN (WSIL) -- A high humidity level means there’s a lot of moisture in the air, and it affects humans differently than other types of life, like plants.

Margie Rehagen, manager of Plantscape in Herrin, says warm temperatures tends to dry out vegetation, but the humidity doesn’t really play a detrimental role in the health of most plants. 

“As the temperature rises, they transpire more water vapor, so they’re going to release more water, so we tend to, we notice obviously that you have to water more... The leaves may scorch, that’s really more the intense heat I think, than anything... Especially the tropical plants which we grow a lot of outside during this time of the year, they don’t mind the humidity at all, in fact they probably thrive in it," Rehagen said. 

That isn’t the case for humans, they tend to notice the extra humidity.

Brandon Long, an employee at Plantscape expressed his initial reaction from the beginning of summer, “Oh sick to my stomach, just got overheated.”

Kristie Roby, a local parent who was supervising her children at the park said she's noticed the heat and humidity, “There’s been a couple hotter days, but the humidity really gets you. Like with the sweat curls up your hair, it’s really bad." 

But more than just messing up your hair, it can cause you to overheat. The more moisture in the air, the longer it takes for our sweat to evaporate. Because evaporation is a cooling process, it takes longer for you to cool off through sweat alone on a humid day. 

That’s why it’s important to find time to cool off during the warmest times of the day.

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