Listen for this weather word on WTOP to get more out of forecasts

If you want to know how muggy it is outside, try listening to WTOP weather for the dew point.

What is a dew point? It indicates the amount of moisture in the air.

You don’t typically find it listed on weather apps, but Storm Team4 monitors it, and passes it along in its forecasts.

And, if you have an idea of what the range of dew point temperatures mean, you will instantly have an idea of how sticky the air is outside.

“If the dew point temperature is at 65, we say it’s humid. If it’s at 70, we start to say it’s very humid. Above 70, it’s feeling oppressive here in our area,” said Storm Team4 meteorologist Amelia Draper.

She said humidity levels can be confusing.

“Just because the relative humidity is at 100, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always raining out,” Draper said.

In the last few days, dew points in the D.C. area have been soaring.

“It’s not common in the summer months for our dew point temperatures to be above 65 degrees, but lately we’ve had dew point temperatures in the low, even mid 70s. That means the air has so much moisture in it, it’s feeling more tropical out there,” Draper said.

The heat index is what you get when you combine the temperature with the dew point temperature. This week the heat index in D.C. has reached between 100 and almost 105 in the afternoons.

Also impressive is the number of days above 90 degrees that D.C. has seen so far this year. As of Tuesday, it was 49. The average is 36, and the record was 67 set in 2010.

“(Monday) was the second-warmest day, so far, this summer with a high of 98 degrees; and we tied the record-high temperature at Reagan National (Airport) set back in 2002,” Draper said.

The heat and humidity are expected to finally ease on Friday, and the weekend looks calm and comfortable. But be prepared for sweltering weather to eventually return.

“The Climate Prediction Center is saying that there’s a high likelihood that our temperatures will continue to, overall, run above normal through the month of November, so we’re not done with 90-degree days just yet,” Draper said.

And although the area has seen some very comfortable weather in between hot days, don’t take out your scarves and order that Pumpkin Spice latte quite yet.

“We’re starting to see more days of more comfortable weather mixed in with hotter days out there, which is a sign that we’re starting to see summer winding down. But summer is far from over,” she said.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2019 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up