Humidity can feel suffocating. The stickiness in the air causes many people to stay inside. Although most people associate heat and the sun with humidity, that’s just part of the equation. Can you guess which is the most humid state in the United States? Here’s a hint, it’s not Florida or Hawaii!
What is the Most Humid State in the United States?
According to Forbes, the most humid state is Alaska. Florida holds second place. Alaska’s relative humidity averages 77.1%. This may be surprising, but it’s because Alaska’s air is cold and doesn’t hold moisture. For instance, Alaska’s average dew point is 26.5°F. Some sources, however, state that Mississippi or Louisiana has the highest humidity averages, this, however, doesn’t take into account the states’ average dew point. Florida’s relative humidity is 74.5%. The state also has an average dew point of 62.7°F.
What is Humidity?
We’ve all heard about humidity and understand how it feels, but what exactly is it? Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. There is always water in the air, all around you. Usually, it’s not the heat that makes you feel sticky or sleepy, but the high humidity. There are two main types of humidity, relative humidity, and absolute humidity.
Relative humidity is the most commonly used term, which is a ratio or comparison between the current absolute humidity and the highest possible absolute humidity. It depends a lot on the temperature outside, which is why hot states have high humidity. However, some northern states are just as relatively humid, this is because of the air. Absolute humidity, on the other hand, is the actual amount of water vapor in the air, not a ratio. Interestingly, two states can have the same absolute humidity, but not the same relative humidity.
Other Humid States
Although Florida and Alaska are the most humid states in the country, they aren’t the only ones! Third on the list of most humid states is Louisiana, which ranks first on some lists looking at absolute humidity. The relative humidity of Louisiana is 74% and the state has an average dew point of 58.3°F. Next is Mississippi, which is only about 0.4% less humid than Louisiana. This state has a relative humidity of 73.6% and an average dew point of 55.6°F. Did you know some northern states are in the top 10? For instance, Michigan is number 7 on the list. This northern midwestern state has a relative humidity of 72.1% and an average 38.0°F dew point. Maine, which borders Canada and experiences cold temperatures, is the tenth most humid state in the country, with a relative humidity of 71.7%.
The least humid state though is Nevada. Although Nevada is a hot state, its relative humidity is 38.3%. Nevada frequently reaches over 100°F in the summer. The state’s average dew point is 27.5°F. Arizona, which experiences similar temperature and weather to Nevada, is the 49th most humid state in the U.S. with about 38.5% relative humidity. The state also has an average dew point of 32.5°F.
Is High Humidity Dangerous?
Humidity itself isn’t dangerous, however, high humidity levels mixed with high temperatures, can limit your body’s ability to cool down and damage structures. Although humidity does not affect the actual outside temperature, it does increase what it feels like. For instance, it’s possible to have an outside temperature of 85°F, but it feels like 96°F due to high levels of humidity. So, while high humidity is uncomfortable, is it dangerous? When the temperature is high, we sweat to cool our bodies. However, it’s harder to cool down when humidity is high as there is so much moisture lingering in the air. In other words, high humidity can cause you to overheat as your body works harder to try and cool down.
Overheating is dangerous and can cause nausea, fever, and muscle weakness. Dehydration is common in high-heat and humid places. Humidity inside your home can also be a pain. When the humidity is too high, there is a lot of moisture in the air, which can quickly lead to mold. This is why black mold is common in homes and apartments in Florida, especially in dark places. To combat this, you can use a dehumidifier and monitor the amount of humidity in your home. When outside, it’s also important you cover up, so you don’t get exposed to too much sun. However, the clothes should be loose and breathable. Tight pants are cute but can trap heat in your body. Lastly, drink as much water as possible, even before you feel thirsty.
Summary of the Most Humid States in the United States
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