Tuesday, August 4, 1998 Published at 05:12 GMT 06:12 UK
Warm weather comforts forecasters
Too hot for comfort? Soon the weather forecast will tell you
Forecasters will soon have a new tool with which to silence the whingeing, weather-obsessed British.
But now the government's Meteorological Office has the answer for those who hate the heat - a comfort index.
During the summer months the Met Office will add a comfort rating when forecasts predict hot conditions.
Humidity is one of the key factors, says Andy Yeatman, of the Met Office.
"People start to get pretty uncomfortable when the temperatures are in the high 70°s or low 80°s, humidity is between 60% and 70% and there is no wind," says Mr Yeatman.
"It's not something we see an awful lot of, compared to other countries such as America.
"We tend to get nice hot summer days that aren't too sticky and stifling."
Mr Yeatman says the idea of a comfort index was in response to public demand during the hot summers of 1995 and 1996.
It will be of most use to people who suffer breathing difficulties in hot weather and will help farmers prevent heat stress in their livestock.
Sun to come
And the good news for those long-suffering sun worshippers who are still waiting for summer to start, is that it will get hotter by the end of the week, says Mr Yeatman.
But he also counters claims that so far summer has been a wash-out.
"It's not really that different to last year. It rained quite often but not that heavily in July and there was a lot of rain in June.
"But we've had about 80% of the sunshine we normally expect for the summer."
A spokesman for the BBC said it was still considering whether to use the comfort ratings.