Opinion

“Feels-Like” Weather And The Latex Glove Index

Current temperature 95 degrees,” the weather man said, and hastened to add, “but it feels like a hundred and five.” Immediately I stood up.  The time had come to test a longstanding hypothesis.

I packed a winter coat, hat, and gloves; a notepad; and a No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil.  With these things in hand, and my three-in-one thermometer-compass-magnifier keychain survival tool, I headed for the door.

My hypothesis, counterintuitive at first blush, was that when the temperature is 95 degrees, it feels like 95 degrees. I postulated that 95 degrees is what 95 degrees feels like; and therefore that 95 cannot feel like 105, or any other number.  Such an unconventional theory was bound to be controversial.  It needed to be tested through empirical studies.

Drawn by the high calling of science, leaving the comfort of the AC, I carried the aforementioned items intrepidly to a shady spot on the sidewalk. Here the mini-thermometer read 95 degrees exactly.  I paused to make a second observation, different in kind, but of equal importance.  Brandishing the Ticonderoga, I then made the following entries in my notepad:

1.  The temperature is 95.
2.  It feels like 95.
3.  With the relative humidity at 50 percent, it feels like 95 degrees at 50 percent humidity.

I put on the winter coat, hat and gloves. Gawkers were to be expected, and I ignored them, focusing instead on my next notation:

4.  In winter clothes, it feels like 95 while wearing winter clothes.

Still dressed for winter, I hopped in place on one foot, counting aloud.  On reaching “60-Mississippi” I stopped.  Enduring the ridicule of additional bemused onlookers, I steadfastly recorded the results.Next, I closed my eyes and called to mind my annual physical exam scheduled for later that day.  I imagined the doctor stretching a surgical glove over one hand; and the distinctive latex “snap!”  I made a final notation and headed home.

My field observations were out of sync with the weather man’s report. His “heat index” (like the “wind-chill factor” in the winter) uses advanced meteorology to exaggerate the temperature, assigning a numerical value to what the temperature feels like, as distinguished from what it is.It’s a special kind of alchemy that transmutes objective thermometer readings to subjective feelings.  For example, if the temperature is 35 degrees, and the wind-chill reportedly makes it feel like -20, the thermometer still reads 35; and in the gale that feels like -20, water magically does not freeze!

Still, the National Weather Service provides a continuum of warnings, from “caution” to “extreme danger,” and statistical data on the hazards of apparent weather.  Ever-present NWS alarms may help explain why, under the Obamacracy, “feels-like” temperature has become standard in every weather report across the land.

The importance of overstating temperatures cannot be overstated.

Dramatized temperatures broadcast with warnings not only help foment general anxiety, but have the added benefit of contributing to specific apprehension about global warming.  Conveniently, NWS’s web page displaying the risks of feels-like inclemency is but a click away from NOAA’s worry-inducing pages on “extreme weather” and “climate change.”

Although we’ve been warned that carbon dioxide poses the greatest threat to national security, too many Americans remain skeptical; some even continue to exhale without remorse. Obama’s policy to restrict human activity requires that “deniers” be inculcated with the correct understanding. If thermometers don’t cooperate, feels-like forecasting provides a workaround.

It’s hotter than you think! Acclimate the people to believe the temperature feels hotter than the temperature and before very long they’ll think the temperature is hotter than the temperature.

My experiment doesn’t necessarily support an end to feels-like weather.  But it shows that heat index and wind chill alone won’t do.  More indices are needed to account for other variables– such as the road-rage index; the wasabi-mustard-eating index; chagrin-while-wearing-winter-coat-in-summertime index; and, of course, the proctologist’s latex glove index (finger). With all applicable indices, you’ll know what the temperature feels like for you.

Alternatively, you could go outside.

Neither of these options helps spread Obamacratic disquietude about feels-like inclement weather and related hysteria.  So, I end with a proposal: the Heat-Index-Index.

The Heat-Index-Index would use an algorithm to calculate what temperature feels like when you’re anxious about how hot it feels with the Heat Index. Suppose the temperature is 95 and the heat index is 105.  Worrying about burning up in such a swelter increases adrenaline and pulse; as a result, you might feel another 7 degrees warmer, fetching a Heat-Index-Index of 112.

In theory, the Heat-Index-Index, factoring in the power of suggestion, should allow for exponentially upward spirals in perceived temperature.  With sustained reports of “record highs” all over the place, everyone must “feel like” something is terribly wrong with the climate, and be properly panic-stricken about health, global warming, national security, so forth. In such a climate of dread, few indeed will be willing, for the sake of their paltry freedoms, to resist government control of the means of production of energy and everything else.