Ask the Met: Dry Heat in Oregon

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“Why is it that the heat feels so different in the summer months here in Oregon as opposed to other parts of our country like Texas and Oklahoma?”

Connor, Medford

Here in Oregon we have a dry heat — this means that the moisture content in our air is very low. This allows us to withstand warmer temperatures than other parts of our country where lots of moisture lies in the air.

The cooler Pacific Ocean temperatures are the reason for this. When we look at the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, quite a difference in water temperatures can be noticed. This allows for a lot of moisture to escape the water and move on land.

Across the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard, this moisture then impacts the way temperatures feel. The mid 80’s with a dry heat can feel much cooler than the mid 80’s with a high humidity (or dew point). In fact, a high dew point (lots of moisture present) with temperatures in the mid 80’s can make the heat index climb into the 90’s.

Meteorologist Alyssa Caroprese