wasting bandwidth since 1999

Hot, Humid, Hazy Math

It’s not the heat – it’s weather people telling you all about it. Around here they keep hammering something called the "heat index", which today was 127° (or something like that). I always figured that value was something made up by one of the high tech toys the stations use to jazz up the weather report.

And I was right. Only a computer could care about this piece of mathematics:

Heat Index = -42.379 + 2.04901523T + 10.14333127R – 0.22475541TR – 6.83783×10{+-}{+3}T{+2} -5.481717×10 {+-}{+2}R{+2} + 1.22874×10{+-}{+3}T{+2}R + 8.5282×10{+-}{+4}TR{+2} – 1.99×10{+-}{+6}T{+2}R{+2}

But, as with most real-life math problems, this one is full of variables.

"It’s as good as we can get in terms of a formula," said Rothfusz [inventor of the index], who works in Peachtree City, Ga., where the heat index yesterday was pushing 107. "The caveat is it’s chock full of assumptions, like wind speed, type of clothing and the clothing’s resistance to moisture."

If you teach math, throw this formula at your kids and let them know math is not 2 + 2.


  1. Tom Hoffman

    Multiply that by one large, dead, rotting, but unreachable rat behind your back door and you’ll smell what I’ve been dealing with the past couple days.

  2. Tim Lauer

    You know when I was a kid, 98 was just hot… We didn’t need no stinkin’ heat index…

    In light of Tom’s post, I propose we come up with some kind of decaying rodent smell index… Hey Tom… sounds like it’s time to start busing out some walls… :-)

  3. Tim

    I’m sure we all appreciate Tom’s vivid imagery. :-)

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