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Great! according to that WIKI page "Here is a formula for approximating the heat index in degrees Fahrenheit, to within ±1.3 °F. It is useful only when the temperature is at least 80 °F and the relative humidity is at least 40%"So where I live http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/averages/19611990/sites/sheffield.htmlit is, on average, never useful.And, according to this http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/ne/the temperature has practically never been high enough for the heat index to be meaningful.On the other hand, the wind-chill factors are often important.
I think most people are capable of understanding that if the temperature is high, and the relative humidity is high, it's going to feel very unpleasant.
I think you overestimate people. I have a good grasp of temperature and humidity, but the heat index is still more useful to me than temperature and humidity when I'm planning a long run or bike ride outdoors in the heat. What may feel tolerable may actually be just slightly above your body's ability to dissipate heat. While this might not be an issue for a walk outside, it's a huge difference if you're strenuously exercising for an hour.
Geezer, I completely agree that the number itself is pretty meaningless. The heat index makes it slightly easier for me to figure out when it's safe to go for a long run or bike ride, but the number is still pretty arbitrary. The number also doesn't have much relation to actual temperatures, as you point out. It would be more useful if they'd just tell you in words how dangerous the heat is if you're doing strenuous exercise.
So... how about wind chill?
weather in london is so mundane compared to those of you in more exotic climes; basically comes down to two yes/no questions - is it raining? and do I need a coat?