Weather in Depth: Melting in the middle of the country

We have been fortunate this summer season that folks in Western New York have been spared the extremes of summer. So far we have measured only one day of 90 degrees or higher, but the rest of the country has been less fortunate. Today’s high temperature map shows triple-digit heat from the deep south all the way north through the Midwest. If you pick just a few communities like Salina, Kansas; Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; or Waterloo, Iowa, each of this towns have a projected high temperature in in excess of 100 degrees — but steamy weather does not end there, because the heat index is running anywhere from 110 to 120 degrees at those same communities. This certainly puts all of those folks in the dangerous range for safety when it comes to human health.

So what is the heat index? It is a level of discomfort that the average person will experience as a result of the temperature and the humidity combined. It is a human comfort index which is similar to the wind chill index. But instead of the wind and the temperature, the two meteorological ingredients in this instance are temperature and humidity.

The weather pattern as it stands today shows a big dome of hot air anchored through the middle of the country. It may look like the heat is going to move toward Rochester, but is not in the forecast. This ridge of high pressure is going to retrograde back to the west and instead of getting hotter for us in Rochester we can expect a cooling trend this weekend.

We know weather is a matter of perspective and comfort means different things to different people. However, most would agree that Rochesterians have been pretty fortunate this summer season.