Sun versus shade and heat safety

Weather Education

MOBIILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Chances are you have heard the First Alert Storm Team remind you to take breaks in the shade if you are out in the heat during the summer. But is the shade that much cooler than being in direct sunlight? Well, let’s see! 

Using a handheld weather station in the shade, during peak heating in the afternoon, the air temperature was 94°. The heat index (what it feels like to your body) was 108°. In the direct sunlight, the air temperature was 107° and the heat index was 132°. So you can see how HOT it feels in direct sunlight compared to the shade and how important it is to take breaks in the shade. 

The shade actually does NOT make temperatures cooler because official accurate air temperature readings that we show on TV are actually taken in the shade. But why? Jason Beaman from the National Weather Service in Mobile explains, “So the measurement that you would get from a thermometer in the direct sunlight would be basically what the sun is doing to that instrument versus what it is doing the air temperature. So that is why we take the actual air temperatures in the shade.”

There are little things we can all do to stay safe in the heat, and taking breaks in the shade is just one of them. Check out the video for more!


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