AUSTIN, Texas - One of the benefits of the extended stretch of wet weather Austin just saw was much cooler temperatures. That has ended with the skies clearing out and the Texas sunshine beating down.
The rain still has a cooling effect though it comes with one big drawback: extra humidity.
The temperatures over the last few days have been hot, but it has been slightly cooler than average for this time of year. That’s all down to the process of evaporational cooling.
Evaporational cooling is an effect water has on the atmosphere when water changes from a liquid phase to a gaseous phase. As it does so, it pulls some energy from the environment – in Texas’ case that energy is in the form of heat.
That evaporational cooling will decrease temperatures by about 1-4 degrees which isn’t a huge difference but it should hold off the first 100° reading of the year until July or so. The heat index will easily make up for the actual temperature since all that water that was in the ground is now in the atmosphere. We feel that water as increased humidity.
The recent sunny stretch has had the effect of drying out the soils and placing the water straight into the air. That’s why it’s been so crazy humid across central Texas.
Now as the sunny days hang around the humidity will decrease slightly but it will take a while. The Texas clay holds a lot of water and won’t give it up too easily so expect the exceptionally high humidity to continue for another week or two.
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