FROM THE WEATHER CENTER
by John Simon
Humidity is a dense layer of moisture that saturates the air and makes the days uncomfortable. It starts as water vapor in the atmosphere, and when it evaporates during a heatwave or after rainfall, it becomes a moist gas that enters the atmosphere and becomes part of the air that we breathe.
Relative humidity is the measure of how humid the air is, with a ranking system of from o to 100. When relative humidity is at 50%, the air is capable of holding one-half of the moisture that is condensing from water vapor. Air at 50% relative humidity can sometimes leave behind a visible layer of liquid water. Relative humidity is what weather forecasters use when discussing meteorological conditions because it is an easy way to understand how humid the air is.
Humidity can be harmful. The dangers of humidity, whether it is too high or too low, include an increase in the number of colds and flu, or the drying out of mucous membranes. High humidity can lead to an increase in fungi and mold, which can affect our respiratory systems as well.
It is important to take proper precautions when spending time outdoors in conditions of very high or very low humidity, since both can cause health problems.