Using the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature to keep you safe in Oklahoma heat

TULSA, Okla. — Most of us are familiar with the heat index, which accounts for both temperature and moisture levels to give us a “real feel” temperature to our bodies.

However, the heat index doesn’t account for other factors that can reduce or increase the risk for heat illness.

The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature is more inclusive measurement of how the heat affects our bodies. In addition to temperature and moisture, it accounts for wind speed, cloud cover and even the amount of direct sunlight you receive. Higher winds more readily cool your body by evaporating sweat. Various degrees of cloud cover, sunlight and sun angle also impact our bodies in how quickly we overheat.

The Scale in the summer usually ranges from the 70s to the 90s, but is not directly correlated to the actual temperature. Instead, these numbers fall into a scale that shows how much time you should spend working in direct exposure to heat and sunlight.

A value in the upper 80s means you should rest for 40 minutes every hour of work in those conditions to avoid heat illness.

This was initially developed and used by the U.S. military in the 1950s. It has become more widely used by the athletic organizations, outdoor workers and some in the general public now as a better metric to know our risk for heat illness.

Here’s where you can find the local forecast for the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature from the National Weather Service.

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