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Old 03-01-2012, 10:52 AM
 
251 posts, read 544,866 times
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Hello, I am from Irvine, a suburb 65 km/40 miles southwest of Los Angeles.

The summers there are very hot (often topping 35 C or 95 F) but the humidity is very low, averaging at 20%. I think the heat is intolerable here! In Hong Kong, it often reached 35 C and the humidity was on average 96% (reaching 100% occasionally) but the heat was better than Las Vegas, at 42 C (110 F) and very low humidity.

I have heard people claim that dry heat feels much more comfortable than humid heat because you sweat less. I certainly did sweat profusely in Hong Kong, but at least there was some ocean breeze and shade from clouds, whereas in Irvine/Las Vegas there is NO SHADE, NO CLOUDS, and NO BREEZE. The sunlight was immensely painful; it was like being barbequed, and I still sweated profusely.That's why I think dry heat is overrated.

Stereotypically, Texas is desert, but now I know that only the El Paso area has dry heat. I've heard Houston is humid. Is it as humid as Miami? Hong Kong?

I've heard someone say that they didn't want to get off the plane in Houston due to the humidity. Then, my mother (who has been to Houston in the summer) said that Houston was HOT but not that humid.

FYI, during the summer, Hong Kong averages 96% humidity in the daytime, reaching 100% w/o rain sometimes, and 85% is considered a "comfortable" level. It takes a miracle for the humidity to drop below 85%!

Would someone please tell me how Houston and El Paso stacks up to Hong Kong/LA and whether dry heat is overrated in your opinion!
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:02 AM
 
Location: GLAMA
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It depends on what you're accustomed to. I've lived in So Cal most of my life, and the bone-dry IE for the past 8 years. I'm so acclimated to dry heat, I can't even stand the Summer weather where I grew up in South OC. It's too humid for me now.

Chengdu, PRC was miserable for me. I couldn't wait to get away from that humid climate .
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:08 AM
 
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Its a scientific fact that high humidity feels hotter than dry heat. Humans cool by evaporation. If the sweat on your skin can't evaporate because the air is already saturated, you won't cool very effectively. The cloud cover is a separate issue.

Yes, Houston is very humid. Most of Texas is not desert, at least not the parts where most people live. El Paso is desert but that's the far western tip of Texas. The eastern half of the state, which includes the major cities of DFW, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston are much more humid than Irvine with Houston being the worst due to its proximity to the Gulf. Also remember that Texas summers are a lot hotter than Irvine and humidity really becomes noticeable at higher temperatures. 100F and 60% humidity feels very humid while 70F and 60% humidity does not. I found Houston hotter than Miami on a trip I took once. Both were very humid but Houston was hotter.

I've been to Denver in the summer and 90F there feels much more comfortable than 90F in Irvine. The air is thinner and the humidity is lower in Denver. The sun is very intense but there's a big difference in the shade.

People in Hong Kong might think 85% humidity is comfortable but I certainly do not. I guess I'll never visit Hong Kong. Give me a dry heat any day.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:56 PM
 
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Some interesting 2011 weather data for Irvine (SNA airport station)

2011 Number of days 95+ degrees = 2 (both in Oct, probably during Santa Ana conditions) .05%
2011 Number of days 90+ degrees = 7 (this includes the (2) 95+ days in Oct) 2%

Now is it really very hot in Irvine?
BTW, most summer days are much closer to 80 degrees than 90.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:58 PM
 
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I don't live in Irvine, but I bet it reaches 95 degrees maybe once or twice a year. The summertime average probably lies closer to the low/mid 80's (cooler if you are closer to the coast, Turtle Rock etc...).

Irvine shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence (weather-wise) as places like Houston and Las Vegas.
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:03 PM
 
1,313 posts, read 5,790,693 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haowen Wong View Post
Would someone please tell me how Houston and El Paso stacks up to Hong Kong/LA and whether dry heat is overrated in your opinion!
They are all four quite different climates. Houston is semi-subtropical (cool to temperate in winter, hot and humid in summer); El Paso is high desert, Hong Kong is semi-tropical (temperate in winter, monsoon season in summer), L.A. is mild Mediterranean.

I don't think that dry heat is overrated. You don't actually sweat less in dry heat, in fact, you sweat more. But the sweat evaporates from your skin directly in gaseous form so you don't really notice it. That results in evaporative cooling. When sweat runs down your skin in rivulets of liquid, then it isn't evaporating and it isn't cooling you.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of dry heat is that dry air has a poor capacity to retain heat after sundown. So even though the afternoon high temperature may be over 100F, the overnight low will probably be below 70 and quite likely below 60. On warm days, humid climates tend to remain sultry at night, especially if air movement is low, making sleep difficult.

Early life formation has much to do with sensations of comfort. We are most comfortable when the weather matches preferences that have been established by expectations. A big part of this has to do with the degree of seasonal variation. It is easier to get used to higher heat when you live somewhere there isn't much cool weather at all. So tropical places like Hawaii and southern Florida tend to be easier to acclimatize to than places like Houston or Atlanta where the annual variation in temperature is rather high. Houston and El Paso can get below freezing in the winter, especially at night. Houston and El Paso really aren't comparable climates at all. Houston is quite humid and El Paso is very dry.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:09 PM
 
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I have spent a little time in both Hong Kong and Houston during summer and think that the Hong Kong humidity is more uncomfortably. Houston may be a little bit hotter but that soupy grey air rising off the harbor in Hong Kong feels miserable. I have seen a blue sky on occasion in Houston during summer but don't remember seeing one in Hong Kong. (Just my experience.)
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:16 PM
 
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I'll take San Jose's 92 over Iowa's 92 any day.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:18 PM
 
541 posts, read 717,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haowen Wong View Post
Would someone please tell me how Houston and El Paso stacks up to Hong Kong/LA and whether dry heat is overrated in your opinion!
Having experienced LA Summers and Houston/EL Paso Summers, I can tell you the difference is in the Humidity. El Paso wasn't that humid in the Summer and although hot, it wasn't that uncomfortable. Somewhat comparable to Las Cruces, NM. Houston Summers, on the other hand were very humid-two showers needed a day humid!

LA to me is hot but pleasant in the Summer. I didn't feel the oppressive humidity there that I've experienced in Houston. Have no clue about Hong Kong as I've never visited there but hope to one day soon. I don't think dry heat is overrated, and I would certainly prefer it over high humidity heat.
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Old 03-01-2012, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Brisbane, Australia
309 posts, read 691,116 times
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I was born in Hong Kong although I don't remember it at all. However I have lived in Saudi Arabia, Spain, Africa and now here in Texas (DFW) and I love hot weather but I can tell you that my first summer here last year was very uncomfortable with 70+ days of over 100F degree heat and many of over 105, even reaching 110 a few times. Add in the humidity (which is less in DFW than Houston) and it was horrible. Dry heat of 110+ in Saudi Arabia was nowhere near as bad to me at least. I am moving to Irvine, CA in the next month or so and am looking forward to escaping the Texas summer this year!
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