TAMPA (WFLA) – Dangerous heat is taking over two-thirds of the country this week. While warm temperatures are expected during the summer months, these are not your average summer-time temperatures.
Heat Watches and Warnings along with Heat Advisories are in effect from the Plains to the East Coast for not one or two days, but five as the heat settles in. Humidity will couple with the heat and bring “feels like” temperatures above 105° for at least two days during the afternoon. This includes Chicago, D.C., St. Louis, and Dallas to name a few.
Relief won’t come at night, either. Actual air temperatures are not expected to drop below 75° even after the sun sets. In fact, numerous record warm low temperatures will be shattered with forecast lows near 80°. According to the National Weather Service, 123 record warm low temps are forecast to be tied or broken.
Heat-related illnesses are likely, especially in young children and the elderly. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion will set in quickly. Sweat is evaporated from the body’s skin to naturally cool our internal temperature and prevent overheating. When the moisture content in the air is too high, the evaporation process occurs more slowly resulting in a rising internal body temperature.
The Centers for Disease Control provides a great list on how to prepare for these prolonged excessive heat events. General rules of thumb include wear light colors, drink lots of water, take breaks in the shade and air conditioning as much as possible and limit time outside altogether. Let the car cool down before getting in it and check seat belts before strapping them to children.
Heat exhaustion sets in prior to a heat stroke. Heavy sweating and dizziness are some symptoms of heat exhaustion and action should be taken before symptoms get worse. Move to a cooler environment, lay down and sip water.
Heatstroke symptoms include confusion, nausea, rapid pulse, shallow breathing. Heatstroke can onset without any heat exhaustion which is why breaks in extreme heat are necessary. Immediately call 911 and then move the victim to a cooler environment, do not give them fluids and apply cool, damp cloths to cool the body. Only use a fan if feels like temps are below 95°.