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Old 06-17-2013, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Humble, Texas
9 posts, read 20,494 times
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My family and I are thinking about relocating from Houston to Iowa City/Cedar Rapids; one of the reasons why we dislike Houston is because of its unbearable heat and humidity in summer.

I understand that although it warms up nicely, the heat is not a major issue in Iowa; however my wife and I keep reading that humidity is quite prevalent in the area (judging by the greenery we see in pictures, it seems to be a true statement).

So if any of you have been to the Southern states (particularly Luisiana, SE Texas), how does the humidity on those areas compare to the humidity in Iowa? More? Less? Pretty much the same? Is it bearable? Are summers just like a sauna?

We'd love to hear your experiences and your comparisons. Thanks!
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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It's like the rest of the midwest. Heat/humidity can be unbearable some days, but generally it's only really bad a couple weeks out of the summer. I stopped at a rest stop in NW Iowa several years ago. I don't remember if it was the end of June or the end of July, but it was about 98F with humidity about the same -- 98%. Anyway, I came out of the building and sat down for a few minutes waiting for my wife and struck up a conversation with a fella from SW Texas. We were both sweltering, of course, and he said he's never experienced heat like that.

During another trip back to Iowa in our camper one year my wife, who spent most of her life in Oregon, looked out the window one morning and saw fog. She expected it to be cool, but when she opened the door it was so hot she couldn't catch her breath. LOL She still talks about "hot fog". And that wasn't even in Iowa; it was along I-90 in South Dakota. I'm sure it was worse in Iowa.

My brother lives in Minneapolis, and my late wife and I stopped there to see him in mid-June on our way back east several years ago. We were heading up the north shore of Lake Superior and then eastward through Canada, and our old pickup camper didn't have AC in it. He promised us it would be cool in Minneapolis. It was 105F. We slept in his basement. He apologized for the Minneapolis heat but said he could absolutely guarantee that it would be cool as soon as we got to Lake Superior. Wrong again. We reached Thunder Bay, the northern-most point of the lake and found the temps to be 108F. It was hotter inland.

That's just a long-winded way of saying you can't go far enough north to escape summer heat completely. I've seen it near 100F in Fairbanks, AK. You could move to a higher elevation -- the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming or Montana -- and beat the heat, or to the Pacific shores of northern California, Oregon or Washington. Other than that, good luck.

But no, it's not as bad as east Texas. I've not been to Louisiana, but I'm sure it's also worse. I have been to southern Missouri in August. I suffered heat stroke there, or at least the early stages of it.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Bettendorf, IA
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I've lived in eastern Iowa my whole life and I will tell you that the humidity is horrible in the summer. In July and August for example-even at night, it rarely gets below 80 degrees at night and it's so miserably hot. I recall many years sitting at our local county fair around the 3rd week of July-at midnight-still sitting and sweating. If you are looking to get out of the humidity, you need to go west-Colorado or Montana as it is much drier heat. The midwest is pretty much all the same for humidity in the summer time unfortunately.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:17 AM
 
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When I first moved to Iowa from southern California, the summers here seemed unbearable until I spent a couple weeks in southern Florida in the summer. Summers here are humid but nothing like I experienced in Florida.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Humble, Texas
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Thanks for your replies. We have lived in eastern and western Washington and in Casper, Wyoming, and have experienced a lot of dry heat close to 100 degrees, however the humidity is something relatively new to us. I hadn't thought about the elevation factor, which is an interesting key point to consider.
In the immediate future, we're somewhat limited to the geographical locations that have universities with a specific PhD program and that pays teachers relatively well. Heat and humidity arent bad in chunks, but it seems that this will last here in Houston... until November!
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:07 AM
 
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If you want to escape heat and humidity, Iowa is not the answer. You will still have heat and humidity, it will just be for 2 less months out of the year. Instead, you'll have insanely cold winters.

Allow me to suggest places that do not have extremely hot humid summers.
The entire PNW. Anywhere in Washington will have decently cool summers. Hot enough to be nice and summery, but not enough to make you suffer. The best weather in the state is in Spokane due to the mountain formations and elevation (2000 ft) that reduce the humidity and redirect northern jet streams during the winter. They also reduce rain levels year round. It isn't a desert, but it won't rain like Seattle. Seattle has numerous educational options and a very mild summer, though it will be humid during everything that is not summer, and sometimes during the summer. However, a high of 80 and low of 60 vs a high of 95 and low of 75 are worlds apart with high humidity. It wouldn't feel anything like Houston or Iowa.

Portland is fairly mild, though it will get a heatwave every year or 2 and be very hot for 1 to 2 weeks with high humidity. Like Seattle, it rains a great deal.

Minneapolis won't have much of hot and humid summers. It'll be reasonable temp and humid summer. Winter is insane.

If you don't mind traffic (you already have it!), you can use the northern East Coast. Tons of colleges, but remember that you have to be on the Northern part of it to get cooler summers. Pretty far North in fact.

If you want to avoid huge cities (you're looking at IC/CR, could just be because UofI has so many programs though), then you may want to check out areas in the Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado area. You might include parts of New Mexico. The general trend is that elevation will remove humidity. Air at higher elevations is less dense, and the lower density reduces the ability of the air to hold water. As a result, it is not possible for the air in Colorado (at ground level) to hold as much humidity as the air in Houston (at ground level). If your lungs can handle it, the mountains will allow you still have decent winters and beautiful summers. I know that sounds weird, you would expect mountains to be cold in the winter, but that isn't the case. SLC may have some humidity issues. It is right next to a major lake. The rest are unlikely to, just remember that you need at least a couple thousand feet of elevation to gain this effect.

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Old 07-12-2013, 04:51 PM
 
158 posts, read 376,078 times
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Iowa City humidity is comparable to taking a hot, wet comforter and wrapping it around your head, that's not including the bugs that come from the tasty tasty moist air. While most aren't big, there's a friggin' lot of em.

"If you don't like the weather, stick around."
Rain at the drop of a hat (google 2013 duracho which hit the midwest.)
In between seasons there is one day every couple weeks which is "springlike" or "fall-like." Otherwise its snowing one day, 80+ degrees the next. I'm not joking. If you are sensitive to climate change, you are in for a piece of hell-pie.

I try to stay inside during the summer months. Exercise is impossible with the air quality.
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
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Besides using the anecdotal weather comments received here, I'd suggest that you find a reliable source that gives the average temperatures for the IC/CR area on a monthly basis along with the typical humidity readings. I use the Weather Channel online site to find the forecast as well as a lot of data such as a monthly chart that gives record highs & lows for every date in a given location. The National Weather Service & private sites can also be sources for you. That way you can escape the innacuracy of someone who might say, "It is regularly 90 degrees in the afternoon in IC & seldom below 75 for an overnight low." They may mean well but may be grossly innaccurate.
As regards humidity, bear in mind that in the morning the humidity readings are always higher before the sun does it's work to dry the air or evaporate the dew away. I cant think of a location in the U.S. for which this is not generally true. So, if on the morning weather you hear that the humidity reading is 84% for example, don't assume that will be the reading for the entire day.
From my location & perspective in the deep South, I often am jealous of the weather in Iowa in the summer given that they more readily & regularly receive the effects of a cool front than we down down in Georgia. That being said, there are definitely plenty of occasions where the weather will seem tipped upside down & Iowa is hotter than Georgia in the summer.
Iowa receives the bulk of it's supply of moisture & humidity for summer rain & thunderstorms from a northerly flow of air & moisture up from the Gulf of Mexico, by the way. When that cranks up, the humidity can be off the charts, as it is all summer long in Houston which also gets it's moisture flow up from the nearby Gulf.
Your present Gulf location in Houston is probably one of the hardest large city summer climates to bear in the U.S. because of the high heat & humidity combination. When I go to the Gulf in the summer, I feel as if I'm about to die unless I'm right on the beach & getting a stiff breeze of relief & this is an observation from an Atlantan where summers are normally not what one would call a picnic. The point being that you would more than likely find the Iowa summer to be alternately oppressive & refreshingly cooler & drier.
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Old 07-14-2013, 02:41 PM
 
4,709 posts, read 6,337,469 times
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About 5 weeks of pretty miserble heat and humidity in the summer.
About 5 weeks of sub zero cold in the winter.

The rest of the year is fine by me.

When people say they spend the summer months indoors, I don't know what they're talking about. They're probably the same people who complain about the cold in Oct. and the heat in June.
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:49 AM
 
Location: North Liberty, IA
179 posts, read 207,217 times
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Yes, the heat and humidity are pretty bad, but they aren't all the time. Peoples memories are playing pretty lose and fast with the truth. Average min temp for July is 64 right for the month right now, last year it was 70. So if that's the average...yeah it's not locked in the 80's peoples memories are.

Right now we're in the 90's with 70 degree dew point, but forecat hi for Saturday is 81...that's how it goes. August gets more humid, partly due to corn fields producing moisture.

It's up and down, just like the cold in the winter, but it definitely changes.

As for the air quality making it impossible to exercise... pfft, I'm not exactly joe fitness but I was out for a walk/Run last night, plenty warm and humid, but unless you're infirmed, certainly not impossible.

Feel free to PM if you want any info on IC. I was born in University Hospitals, and lived all but about a year here, but I've travelled pretty extensively so I have some perspective. Let me know if you have other IC questions, I'll try to give you a balanced response.
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