So for a while now there’s been a “debate” in our house about the inclusion of the designation of “Real Feel” in weather reports. My husband thinks it’s ridiculous. He says if it’s hot and humid out, say that. Don’t tell me it’s 92 degrees out but it feels like it’s 102. What’s the difference at that point. Yes, he definitely acknowledges that humidity and whatever else does make it feel hotter out, and wind chill gives the sense that it’s colder out than it is, but at the end of the day, why are the two numbers given?
Personally, I find it all amusing. I am not a meteorologist, and while I know there’s a biological impact, I am not a scientist in any capacity so the details of the differences are lost on me. It does, however, have a “real feel” definition to me. Just like some measure walking distances in cigarettes, or others measure drive time in songs, I measure moods on real feels.
For instance, if it is technically 92 degrees out but the real feel is 102, I know to stock up on aspirin. Undoubtedly people will be miserable, and when they’re miserable, they’re meaner. And since it’s that humid out, their brains will swell. For most, that’s not a bad thing, since there’s a high degree of probability nothing will be affected, but it will make them even slower than normal, which will make ME more miserable. If the temperature is 92 degrees with a real feel of 102, I know someone’s gonna get into a fight. I also know to hose my dogs down more. They can handle heat, they have a VERY difficult time with humidity.
On the other hand, if it’s 42 degrees out and there’s a windchill that gives a real feel of 5, well, I’m not going to let my child out of the house without weights for fear he’ll be blown across the yard. For colder temperatures, however, on the whole I have a lesser understanding. For me if it hits below 32 I ignore it, it’s all the same to me: too cold. (I have one for heat, but since that’s about 89, I get tormented about it all the time. Actually for heat, for me, it’s more about the real feel than the actual temperature, since I’m more like a dog, I don’t handle humidity well at all.) I spent 4 years in a very cold place. I went to college in Canada. Granted, I did not get lake effect winters, but it left enough of an impression. (For those thinking that I roughed it out in the cold 60 degree winters in Vancouver, no … I went to school in Montreal where yes, it does get very very cold. It just doesn’t get as cold as other parts of Canada.)
In Montreal they have cities built that are almost fully accessible underground. Unfortunately the dorms and affordable apartments for college students living in the city (at least at the time) generally couldn’t afford those. We lived “off the metro grid”, meaning, while the metros were within 2 or 3 blocks, of any given place, they were not directly connected and therefore required venturing outdoors. Similarly the university itself required students to venture outside to get from building to building (not all, but most). So we roughed it out, in the cold winters in Canada. (Yeah, the few weeks I actually attended classes during winter months, which stretched from early October to late April.) But it was during that time I really began to understand and appreciate the real feel. I didn’t fully understand it, mainly because the numbers they gave were in metric and doing math in the morning in a cold, French city with no drinking age limit, didn’t mix all that well. I learned enough and kept a calculator to learn when NOT to wear metal rimmed glasses outside, unless I wanted to risk a headache that rivaled an axe through the skull then jamming into the ice picks that were shoved through your eyes. I also learned about nose warmers to ensure some opening for breathing, since there was little or no humidity in a Montreal winter. Nope, even the humidity froze, leaving little or no useable air. (It did however allow the wafting of freshly cooked bagels to make the city smell great most of the time!) An upshot of a low winter real feel is that no one is going to get into a fight; it’s just too damn cold. Unless you look forward to the warming sensation of blood flowing to warm your finger tips.
So I don’t get the science behind it, but I use the difference in the actual temperature and real feel to gauge how the day will turn out. Will there be an argument, a fight to the blood, or just an annoying day.
Then the other day it all got shot to shit. The temperature was 80. The real feel was 81. Today may be Thursday, but it’s got a real feel of Monday.