It has been hot of late; today’s official high temperature in Central Park was 97 degrees.
And maybe ten years ago, that would have been it. The weatherman would report the temperature, and the humidity, and leave you to figure out how miserable it was.
Today, in addition to the temperature, the weather reporters tell us the ‘heat index;’ some calculation based on the temperature and the humidity, supposedly to give a sense of how hot it feels.
I think the real reason is to make the weather reports scarier: today is no hotter nor stickier than a 97-degree July day ten or fifteen years ago. But by telling us that ‘the heat index is 110,’ it turns an ordinary hot day (common enough in mid-July) into almost an emergency.
If all my meetings got cancelled because of the heat, then maybe I’d feel different about it, but other than being hot, it was a normal workday, with all of my meetings going on as scheduled. So it wasn’t an emergency, after all.
If one is more into conspiracy theories, one might believe that the use of the heat index is a scheme to make us believe that global warming is real. I don’t know if it is or isn’t, but new fake temperatures do not help to clarify the issue.
I wish weather reporters would report the real temperature and then shut up: we already know that it’s hot and sticky.
It’s July in New York City, after all. It’s supposed to be hot and sticky.