BUFFALO, N.Y. - Welcome to Guam, New York! It has become downright tropical across Western New York with humidity values rarely seen in these parts in early September. Our atmosphere is completely loaded with moisture causing very hazy skies, uncomfortably warm nights, oppressively hot afternoons and when it rains it most definitely will pour.
To understand why it’s so humid around here you have to look and see where the air mass that currently sits over Western New York comes from. The Gulf of Mexico is wide-open and our flow in the atmosphere is coming directly from their thus bringing air that is loaded with moisture directly into Western New York. As an example temperatures and dew points this morning in both Buffalo and Niagara Falls matched current weather conditions in places like Houston, Texas; New Orleans, Louisiana and Orlando, Florida. Added to the mix is moisture coming from what was a hurricane in the Eastern Pacific. Hurricane Newton made landfall in Baja California earlier this week eventually entering the desert Southwest and dumping tremendous amounts of rain parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Moisture from that former tropical system has actually gotten caught up into the flow and is adding to our high humidity values around here.
When humidity values are this high it makes hot temperatures feel even hotter. That’s why you will hear the term heat index which is how you actually feel compared to the actual air temperature. When it’s this humid the perspiration from your skin is unable to evaporate which is a natural cooling process. Thus when you become sweaty, you stay sweaty and your body is unable to cool itself and thus it feels even hotter than the actual air temperature.
One of the byproducts of this high humidity is enhanced rainfall coming out of any thunderstorms that develops. The atmosphere is so loaded with moisture that even normally small thunderstorms could potentially produce heavy downpours. Downpours are possible this afternoon and evening.
The good news is that this time of the year Western New York can experience periodic cool fronts that move through replacing a humid air mass with a far drier one. That looks to happen this weekend, thus by Sunday our high humidity will be gone.