Home Health Oh, the humidity! Here are answers to 11 questions Arizonans ask...

Oh, the humidity! Here are answers to 11 questions Arizonans ask about the monsoon

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Here in Arizona, we celebrate our “dry heat” as a badge of sorts. So, it’s not shocking why the rest of the country can’t understand why Arizonans are complaining about the humidity this weekend. We’re just not used to it! We’ve compiled answers to some typical questions being asked this weekend about the humidity and Arizona’s monsoon storms.

(File) Worker sweating in hot weather.(Arizona’s Family)

Why does humidity make people sweat more?

The body cools itself by sweating. If the air is dry, water evaporates off the skin pretty quickly. But if it’s humid, meaning there’s already moisture in the atmosphere, it takes longer for sweat to leave the skin. When the humidity gets high, the body may not be able to cool off at all. As climate change continues to heat the planet, humidity in hot cities may lead to more heat-related deaths.

Arizona's monsoon storms can increase the humidity in the air and thus make your ac work longer...
Arizona’s monsoon storms can increase the humidity in the air and thus make your ac work longer and harder.(MGN)

Why does it seem like my air conditioner works harder when it’s humid?

The increase in humidity can clog a home’s air conditioning unit. When a central air conditioner pulls the moisture from the air inside a house, the water collects on the evaporator coil and is then drained through the condensation line. However, if the condensation line becomes clogged with all of that dust and moisture, it could cause the air conditioner to actually back up the moisture into the home, causing damage to floors, walls, ceilings, and furniture.

To prevent this from happening, you should inspect your home air filter once every month. This can help keep the air conditioner effectively pulling moisture out of the air and not dumping it back inside the home.

This image shows a photo of a wall of dust rolling over the Valley.  It was taken from a...
Dust storms like this are a fairly common occurrence early in the Arizona monsoon.(Arizona’s Family file photo)

What is a haboob?

Huge walls of dust are sometimes called a haboob, meaning “blown” in Arabic. They form when high winds push out of falling thunderstorms. A haboob can reach 1,500 to 3,000 feet tall and 100 miles wide.

Lightning was seen in El Mirage as more storms pummeled the Phoenix area.
Lightning was seen in El Mirage as more storms pummeled the Phoenix area.(Arizona’s Family)

Why does lighting strike?

A lightning bolt is a discharge of electricity in the atmosphere. The strike equalizes the positive and negative charges in the air. Although it usually happens within clouds, it can occur between the clouds and the ground.

Why does thunder come after lightning?

The energy from lightning can heat the air to around 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This rapid warming causes the air to expand quickly. The result is a sound wave of thunder.

Lightning from Sunday's monsoon storm in downtown Phoenix
Lightning from Sunday’s monsoon storm in downtown Phoenix(Brandon Chaney)

Can lightning strike in the same place twice?

Not only can lightning hit the same spot more than once, but it can also do so in a short amount of time. While the chances a person will get struck by a bolt is about 1,000,000 to one, a park ranger named Roy Sullivan reported getting zapped seven times.

Hormonal changes may bring on headaches.  If you have a history of migraines, they may improve...
Hormonal changes may bring on headaches. If you have a history of migraines, they may improve or get worse during perimenopause. (©iStockphoto.com/Shaun Lowe)

Can weather changes really cause a headache?

There is some evidence that changes in temperature or barometric pressure can trigger a migraine, though researchers are still trying to figure out why people are affected differently. Bright sunlight, strong winds, storms, and dry or humid air may also lead to headaches in some people, according to the Mayo Clinic.

SoutheastHEALTH |  Treating arthritis of the shoulder
SoutheastHEALTH | Treating arthritis of the shoulder

Can the weather make arthritis worse?

The short answer is: maybe. Some people say they know it’s about to rain because their joints start to hurt. However, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to back up this claim. There is no relationship between rainfall and outpatient trips to the hospital for joint and back pain, according to a 2017 study published in the journal BMJ.

Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs
Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs(wagm)

How does weather affect asthma?

High heat, humidity, cold, rain, thunderstorms, or any sudden weather changes can make asthma worse, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Because extreme events are more problematic than mild weather, climate change is likely to asthma symptoms.

Why does it rain when it's sunny?
Why does it rain when it’s sunny?(Arizona’s Family)

How can it rain when it’s sunny?

A sun shower can happen if the atmosphere is unstable. Temperature changes can push air up and down, which can create the right circumstances for rain.

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