Rush Limbaugh Runs Hot and Cold on Weather Indices

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Is much of America really in the midst of a brutal heat wave? Nah! It’s really not as hot as you may think—or feel. So says radio talk show host and weather meister Rush Limbaugh.  Ignore those news reports warning that the temperatures are soaring into the stratosphere. According to Rush, the mercury isn’t really rising as high inside thermometers as reports claim.

Here’s what Rush had to say recently about what’s really going on weatherwise:

They’re playing games with us on this heat wave, again. Even Drudge. Drudge getting sucked in here. Going to be 116 in Washington. No, it’s not. It’s gonna be like 100, maybe 99. A heat index, manufactured by the government to tell you what it feels like when you add the humidity in there.

116. When’s the last time the heat index was reported as an actual temperature? It hasn’t been, but it looks like they’re trying to get away with doing that now. 116. Drudge is just linking to other people reporting. He’s not saying it, I don’t want to misunderstand, but he’s linking to stories which say 116 degrees in Washington. No!

It’s going to top out as 102, 103. It does this every year. We have this every year. There’s a heat dome over half the country, midwest is moving east. And it happens every summer. Every summer.

So, folks, you can ignore the dire warnings of extreme heat. Pay no mind to what anyone says about record temperatures that have been calculated according to the National Weather Service’s Heat Index. You can forget about the humidity! Don’t listen to people like James Samenow who wrote the following on a Washington Post blog:

Heat is the top weather related killer in the U.S. But there’s truth in the saying, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” The body cools itself at a slower rate when the humidity is high. For this reason, the heat index was devised, to provide a measure of how hot it actually feels – hence alternative names such as “apparent temperature,” “feels like temperature,” “real-feel temperature”(AccuWeather trademark), “humiture,” and in Canada, “humidex.”

The heat index results from a whole research area on weather and its effects on the human body, known as biometeorology. The index is grounded in established relationships describing the exchange of heat and moisture between the human body and the atmosphere.

Thankfully, Rush has been kind enough to provide us with some advice in case we do happen to feel the need to cool things down:

If we want to cool things off, please, Al Gore, schedule a global warming conference, wherever, in Washington! Go there. You want that 103, 116 to get normal? It will, within an hour of Gore announcing that he’s going! Another ten degrees off when he shows up. Plus hail, and rain, and maybe some high winds to really cool people off! That’s all that has to happen.

Rush is right. The heat index is manufactured—just like the Windchill Factor. According to the National Weather Service, the Windchill Temperature index (WCT) “uses advances in science, technology, and computer modeling to provide an accurate, understandable, and useful formula for calculating the dangers from winter winds and freezing temperatures.”

Oh, sure! Another government-manufactured weather index–one that tells us how cold we feel and not how cold it really is. I was dying to find out what Rush might have said about the Windchill Factor so I did a little investigating. Here’s an excerpt from his radio program that aired on February 5, 2007:

An hour ago, the wind chill factor in New York City was minus two. In Chicago, an hour ago, the wind chill factor was minus 19. An hour ago, the wind chill factor in Washington was minus one. In Philadelphia, an hour ago, the wind chill factor was minus eight. Make a note, ladies and gentlemen: whenever it’s hot outside, we get news story after news story about global warming. Now that it is freezing, record cold — it’s so cold in Chicago, they delayed the Nielsens! They delayed the Nielsen report on how many Chicagoans watched the Super Bowl last night. Now that it’s cold, record cold out there, we will not see any news stories on the major networks questioning global warming. There is one in the LA Times today: “Game Over on Global Warming?” with a question mark after it. It has some interesting statistics in it, but not one story — not one story — will we see about global warming maybe not being real, in the middle of record cold.

So there you have it from weather wiseman Rush: The National Weather Service’s Heat Index should be ignored–but not the Windchill Factor. That’s all you need to know. Need I say more?


A Rush Heat Index Rhyme

The reported temperatures? They ain’t real!

Please ignore how hot you feel.

The heat index was manufactured, you see

By a liberal government entity.

Two “heat-related” song videos for your viewing pleasure:

Limbaugh: The Killer 116° Heat Index Is ‘Manufactured By The Government’ (Think Progress)

It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Stupidity: Limbaugh Calls Heat Index a Liberal Government Conspiracy (Think Progress)

Denying Existence Of Record Heat Wave, Limbaugh Suggests The Heat Index Is A Government Conspiracy (Media Matters)

Record Cold Raises No Questions; Polar Bear Photo a Fraud (Rush Limbaugh)

The origins of the heat index and why it’s important (Washington Post)

Is this heat wave special? (Washington Post)


Clip Art Courtesy of Designed to a T

37 thoughts on “Rush Limbaugh Runs Hot and Cold on Weather Indices”

  1. Elaine,
    I find the heat index vitally important when I read about the heat wave and drought happening right now with over 30 people dying from the heat.

  2. anon,

    No one forced you to read this post. Evidently, you decided to waste your own time reading it and commenting on it…twice. I would assume anyone who read the title of this post could infer that it wasn’t about an issue that was related to the law. Why didn’t you just skip reading it?

  3. Elaine,

    Okay, more simply.

    I don’t care about Rush Limbaugh. I don’t care what he has to say about physics, the guy is an idiot.

    I don’t care what you have to say about physics, I suspect you’re an idiot on that topic as well.

    I like this blog when it focuses on issues relating to the law, civil liberties, and politics.

    When this blog and its guest bloggers starts talking about just about anything else, mostly what they do is reveal their own nastiness, their own ignorance, their own agendas, their own partisan blinders, and their own smug elitism.

    You take one of Limbaugh’s reports and compare it to another of his reports and POUTRAGE he reveals himself as an idiot and a hypocrite.

    I do not care. It is a waste of your time to write this crap, but far more importantly it is YOUR wasting of my time to ask me to read it. And that offends me.

    I come by here with many other people expecting that you have written something of actual value.

    That is my gift to you, that is my time, that is my polite acknowledgement of the value of this blog, and there you are,

    telling me, NOT that heat index is important to the elderly, weak, and impoverished populations,

    but telling me that Rush is an idiot and a hypocrite. Is this somehow news to you? Is this a revelation?

    Thank you Rick Romero.

    If you’re not an ignorant snobbish dumbass, than just tell us why you find the new heat index of value, and who else will find it of value, and why we should pay attention to it,

    But don’t blah blah blah yet another story about Rush Limbug that forgets all the rest. It makes me not believe your claims about your concern over Heat Index.

    I apologize for saying you were snobbish.

  4. anon,

    A number of the reports I’ve read included both the actual temperatures and the “heat index” temperatures. Here’s an example:

    East Coast hit by searing heat, Midwest still suffers
    By Lauren Keiper |/ Reuters

    The thermometer during Boston’s morning commute hit 88 degrees, with a heat index of 96 degrees, and the mercury was expected to climb relentlessly through the day.

    “It only gets worse from here,” said meteorologist Alan Dunham with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.

    “We’re looking at a high air temperature of about 102 with a heat index value up to 108,” he said.

    I think it behooves us to listen to weather warnings that include the heat index–particularly if we are elderly. I live in an area where it can get extremely humid at times, especially in the summer. Ninety degrees can feel a lot different when the humidity is very high compared to how it feels when the air is dry. I think it best to inform people about what kind of weather is on the way so they will know what to expect and can be prepared.


    I was trying to show how Rush–who railed against the Heat Index–didn’t seem to have a problem with the Wind Chill Factor. Did you miss that part of my post? I’d say that Rush was “exploiting” the WCF for his own political agenda. Maybe you didn’t see it that way.


    FYI: I’m not an ignorant snobbish dumbass. If it makes you feel better to imply that I am–so be it. Sticks and stones…and all that.

  5. Kate – maybe not. Given that he snorts Oxycontin he may be oblivious to weather conditions. (there is no way a human can swallow 1000 Oxycontin a day – you would be in a stupor long before that. Since his own purchases indicate that number he had to be crushing & snorting them where they act more like cocaine & keep you hopped up).

    Global warming predicts a lot more moisture in the atmosphere and a lot more energy – larger storms summer and winter, not just always warm weather.

    The last ice age in Europe was caused by global warming. The Gulf Stream current was disrupted and, without its warming influence on the weather the continent underwent a long dark winter.

  6. If there are newspapers and pundits stating what the temperatures are but substituting in the “Heat Index” without being clear about that, then yes, they are wrong, and you are wrong.

    Temperatures are a well defined elemental physical trait measuring an object’s statistical kinetic energy about its center of mass.

    “Heat Index” is an ill defined amalgamate measurement that seems highly anthropocentric in nature, does not have a long body of research or measurement behind it, and seems highly likely to be subject to definitional changes in the future.

    Heat Index may in fact be a more useful and valuable way to discuss heat than temperature, much like the metric system is a better way to measure than the English System.

    Regardless, how many people have a good understanding of what the heat index measures and what it means and how it is devised?

    Until there is appropriate discussion and education, than yes, merely talking heat index is wrong, and is subject to being exploited for political agendas.

    Okay, you can all go back to demonizing Rush now, and I will stick my head in a toilet for defending that asshole from even more ignorant snobbish dumbasses.

  7. raff:

    “Mr. Limbaugh is running our of demons that he can point to”

    Aren’t they all?

  8. Elaine,
    Great story. Mr. Limbaugh is running our of demons that he can point to. The video clip was excellent.

  9. Rush probably only steps outside his air-conditioned studio to step into an air-conditioned limo, which takes him to his air-conditioned home … make him stay outside all day in this heat and humidity like that poor kid who was working as a landscaper, and Rush would quickly be a (huge) puddle of grease on the sidewalk.

  10. Okay, let’s hear next winter for the gummint made-up wind chill figures, another plot(z) to destroy ‘murica as we knew it before we were born.
    One of the hottest summers ’round here was ’41, when my dear unsainted mother was carrying me, her soon-to-be first born. Until her dying day, she reminded me that I made her suffer that summer, and every non-air conditioned one after.

  11. Don’t get me wrong, I have not heard more abominable speech–oh, wait, yes I have, on Fox News–but on this one, I agree. Give the temperature, not the heat index. Feels like 123 degrees in Minnesota is just stupid. And I am in Minnesota. Having spent summers in Wilmington, Ohio, Riverside California, and Kingsville, Texas, and visited Cairo in May (missed the dead of summer), Hodeida in Yemen in May (20 minutes in the suq is the max), and lived in NYC-Long Island most of my life, 89 is 89, not 103; 100 is 100, not 115. What I have never seen is the massive extent of the heat wave across the country. I write this having not listened to RL speak about this issue. I find him to disgusting to listen to regularly, even to catch his rhetoric (since it will be repeated everywhere is some form, or another). I agree with Al Gore; no dissent from science here. As I watch my country waste the opportunity to go green–haven’t our companies signed on with China and Singapore recently–I am as I can be and wonder about leaving America for awhile.

  12. Andy,

    When I read reports of what Rush was saying about the Heat Index, I thought I’d check to see if he had said anything about the Windchill Factor. As Rush is a climate change/global warming denier, I thought he’d probably think the WCF was a good index to use. It didn’t take me long to find some evidence of that. Just trying to expose an example of blubbermouth’s hypocrisy.

    The Muppets do indeed make everything better!


  13. I was getting upset that you would use space for anything Rush was spouting. Al Franken said it all. Yet, I cooled down when I saw you added the Muppets. They make everything better.

  14. Rush is right. They are trying to make it sound like it’s hotter than it actually is.
    The heat index was created by our very own George Winter-ling. I grew up watching Mr. Winter-ling. There are alot of variables to the heat index and it affects everyone differently. One thing for sure, when it’s hot it’s hot and like they say it’s not the heat it’s the humidity, at least thats what it feels like to me 🙂

    This is not the first time we’ve had a heat wave and it won’t be the last. In 1911 there was a global heat wave. CO2 was well below the safe zone of 350 ppm.
    Was it Global Warming then or is it Global Warming now?

  15. Saying things trying to remain relevant,If this debt ceiling farce dosen’t get resolved and a portion of his audience don’t get their SS,SSI,Veterans Checks,for I know there or some in those catergories who listen to him.What is he going tell them?
    Don’t believe your non direct deposit or your empty mail box?

  16. Well when I have heard Rush my heat index has gone up tremendously…Near Stroke level…..

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