What’s the deal with RealFeel?

Locals are obsessed with weather reports around here. The first week we were in town, at least a dozen people told us if we didn’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes. We just laughed at the colloquialism, but now know it to be fact!

Not only are wind, humidity, hail, rain, and temperature endlessly discussed, but something called RealFeel® is bandied about. Based on closely-guarded algorithms developed by AccuWeather, this is a measurement of how a particular set of weather factors actually feel. For instance – an overcast, low-humidity, 85° day with a light breeze feels much cooler than a high-humidity, sunny 85° day with no air moving at all.

I just didn’t get it – why tell us how we feel? Doesn’t the Crone know how she feels?

If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.

It turns out this information is critical for farmers. The feel of the weather, beyond mere temperature, has a huge impact on animals. Unlike the Crone, they can’t remove themselves to air-conditioned splendor.


The problem can get extreme; in 1995 a farm in western Iowa lost 3,750 cattle in one day to heat. Many methods have been developed to keep farm animals safe and happy during hot summers. Sprinkler systems are used to cool down cattle and to reduce dust. Special shade materials have been developed that can reduce as much as 95% of radiant energy, and farmers take special care not to handle cattle at all, if possible, during very hot weather. Cattle will be moved between midnight and 8:00 a.m. during such times. Farming is a craft, an art, and a science!

Of course, other animals are similarly affected. So, the Crone now checks the weather and the RealFeel® ratings on a regular basis. She may have not yet touched the velvety nose of an Iowa cow, but she’s a real team player.

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