Thursday, June 21, 2012

Environment Canada "Humidex Feeler" Gary Knapp Speaks Out

Ottawa - The recent heatwave staggering the regions of Eastern Canada have brought temperatures into the mid-30s, but with a "humidex"factor of reaching into the 40s. The increasing humidex factor has many people wondering how the humidex is calculated, as most times it is simply stated as "Feels like 43 with the humidex" during weather updates. Who determines this and "feels" the temperature? The O-dot has learned that Environment Canada uses a professional "Humidex Feeler", who just goes outside and announces it feels like a certain temperature, which is then used in weather updates for each city.

Ottawa's Humidex Feeler is Gary Knapp, 54, who works at the Ottawa division of Environment Canada and reports what his job is during a heat wave. "I usually have to step outside at 9am, noon and 3pm, then sit there for a minute of two. I then contemplate what it kinda feels like to me, then announce it to the weather department, which updates all the news outlets." Knapp explains. He says it takes a few minutes for him to "feel" the temperature before announcing it "Feels like 43", or whatever the temperature he may be feeling. Years of training and outdoor standing gives Knapp a humidexer edge when announcing what the temperature feels like. "I spent three months in the deserts of Africa standing and feeling the temperature, so I have a pretty good idea of the range of temperatures I can feel." Knapp remarked. 

A busy season for Knapp, summer can take it's toll on the Humidexer, who likes to hydrate with Kool-Aid or water. Knapp often looks forward to the cooler temperatures of the winter season when he is employed as a Wind Chill Factorer, standing outside during the winter months, feeling the brisk winds of winter, and announcing, "With the Wind chill it feels like -26". 

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