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CORDERO'S CORNER: Why is East Heat worse than West Heat?

CORDERO'S CORNER: Why is East Heat worse than West Heat?
Posted at 5:30 AM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 05:10:27-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fl. (WTXL) -- Every Tuesday on WTXL Sunrise, you'll be able to have one of your own weather questions answered by Meteorologist Alex Cordero.

This week, our question came from Jay Blanton, from Lake Park, Georgia.

His question: "I hear heat is worse here than out west because of the humidity. Why?"

It is all about the heat index. It's an index that allows us to calculate what it feels like when you factor moisture in the air, known as dew point or relative humidity.

The human body is an active machine that attempts to cool itself when it is hot outside. That cooling process is in the form of sweat coming off the body. The sweat evaporates and the body is able to cool to a safe temperature. But when the air is humid, more moisture in the air means the sweat takes longer to evaporate. The body can't cool off as efficiently, making the heat feel truly oppressive.

In the eastern U.S. (including the Great Plains), you see moisture pulled in from the Gulf of Mexico and that moisture helps to make the resulting heat index higher than it would be in the Desert Southwest.

Any heat above 100 degrees is dangerous, but it can be worse if your body fails to cool itself properly. You can fall at risk to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. The risk for these conditions increases with a high heat index.

Remember you can send your questions to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or send them to ACORDERO@WTXL.TV