Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: It's all about heat capacity

It's all about the heat capacity

Why does 71 degrees air temperature feel nice and warm, but 71 degrees water temperature feel real cold when you're first trying to get in?

We ran this one by Dr. Jeff Masters, director for meteorology at Weather Underground, which supplies some of the daily weather information in the Times and on tampabay.com. He writes:

"Body temperature is 98.6 degrees, so any temperature below that will take heat out of the body. Water does it much faster, since there are a lot more water molecules packed against your skin to take heat away than there are for a gas (air) when it is against your skin.

"Thus, we say water has a higher 'heat capacity' than air."

Hurricane season was busy

This hurricane season started out like it would be a really bad one, but seemed to kind of fizzle. How does it rank in history against other seasons?

While it may not seem that way to some people because Florida wasn't hit by any hurricanes or even threatened often, it's been an extremely busy hurricane season, which ends tomorrow.

There were 18 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or higher. The 18 named storms ties 1969 as the sixth-busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, according to Masters of Weather Underground. Only 2005, 1933, 1995, 1887 and 2010 had more named storms.

Masters pointed out in his blog that only 33 percent of the named storms reached hurricane strength, well below the usual 55 to 60 percent most years. He attributed the anomaly, at least in part, to the unusually dry and stable air over the Atlantic for most of the season.

Weather disasters costly

Someone told me the other day that there have been a lot of expensive weather disasters in the United States this year. Is that right?

Absolutely. Once again, we'll cite Weather Underground's Masters, who wrote recently that there have been 14 weather-related disasters in 2011 with damages of more than $1 billion.

Topping the list: The tornadoes that struck April 25-28, known as the 2011 Super Outbreak. More than 330 tornadoes were counted in the Midwest, South and Northeast. Alabama was especially hard-hit. Damage was estimated at $9 billion, and more than 300 people were killed.

Next was the tornado outbreak across the Midwest and South from May 21-26, which caused $8 billion in damage and killed about 180 people, most of them in Joplin, Mo.

Third was Hurricane Irene, which passed Florida to the east, then roared up the East Coast from Aug. 26-28. The storm made landfall in North Carolina, then New Jersey and again in New York. Damages were estimated at about $7.2 billion in damage and almost 50 people died.

Q&A: It's all about heat capacity 11/28/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 28, 2011 5:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pitching on no rest backfires for Erasmo Ramirez, Rays

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — After battling through a 61/2-hour affair Sunday in Minnesota that was the second-longest game in franchise history, Rays officials were quick to decide that even though Erasmo Ramirez had just worked the 15th and final inning, they would stick with him to start Monday's game in Texas.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)