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Stuck in sticky air

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Only two days in 2020 were warmer than today's high of 91. Eau Claire hit 92 degrees on both June 2 and June 8. This makes today just the third of the year with a high of at least 90, and we're going for more this week. This means that July will start out hot.

While July is Eau Claire's hottest month of the year on average, these temps are still well above average highs.

Map from 3 p.m.

You've heard the saying before: It's not just the heat, it's the humidity. That was true today and will remain true through the week and even into next week. Relative humidity values have ranged from about 40% to 60% this afternoon.

Wait, that seems low.

That's because relative humidity is not a very good measure of the actual amount of moisture in the air. It's simply a comparison of moisture in the air compared to how much moisture the air could hold. Since warmer air holds more moisture than cooler air, this percentage is highest at night and lowest in the heat of the afternoon, even if the moisture content doesn't change.

That's why it's better to use the dew point temperature, which is what the air needs to cool to in order to reach 100% humidity. Simply put, the higher the dew point, the more moisture in the air. Since that's what we want to know- how much moisture is in the air because that's what we perceive as humidity, that's the better parameter to watch.

When dew points climb into the upper 60s, it's very humid and 70+ is excessive. That's what made it feel like the mid 90s this afternoon.

In all this heat and humidity that will continue through the week and even into next weekend, there will be slight chances for pop up showers and thunderstorms just about every day, though at this point all chances over the next seven days look isolated in nature.

Nonetheless, stay hydrated because it will be hot and humid for at least the near future.

Matt Schaefer

Matt Schaefer was promoted to Chief Meteorologist in July of 2019 and has been our evening meteorologist for News 18 since June of 2016. Prior to that, he was our Saturday meteorologist starting in September 2014.

Matt was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He enjoys all the extremes that mother nature throws at the Badger State: from severe thunderstorms to blizzards to subzero temperatures.

Matt studied meteorology in the Midwest as well, earning his Bachelor’s of Science in Meteorology at Valparaiso University in Indiana. There, Matt was heavily involved in VUTV Weather, the Valpo student chapter of AMS/NWA, and VUSIT (Valparaiso University Storm Intercept Team). He’s logged more than 20,000 miles chasing and studying severe storms all across the country and witnessed nine tornadoes including six in one day!

Matt describes himself as a Wisconsin boy at heart and enjoys cheering for the Packers, Brewers, Badgers, and Admirals just to name a few. He loves simply being outdoors and enjoys the Wisconsin wilderness especially in fall, and whitetail deer season!

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