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Heat Advisory???
This is Florida, how can there be a Heat Advisory, it is always hot in June? That is the question on the minds of many people across West Central and Southwest Florida. Yes, it is almost always hot in Florida during June with daytime highs averaging in the upper 80s to lower 90s, but over the weekend an upper level high pressure that has been meandering over the Lower Mississippi Valley for most of the last week will drift east over the region (see graphic below).
Upper level pattern and forecast clouds/precipitation
Upper level pattern and forecast clouds/precipitation
As this high moves over the region, warmer air aloft along with subsidence, or sinking motion, will reduce the amount of clouds and therefore lower rain chances. This will in turn allow temperatures to climb into the middle and upper 90s in many locations, and possibly reach the century mark in a few inland spots. This does happen almost every year for a few days, but usually like the last time this happen during the first week of June 2008, when the temperature climbs into the middle and upper 90s, the relative humidity drops below 35 percent, and therefore the heat indices, sometimes referred to as the apparent temperatures, do not reach 105 degrees. However, during this weekend these temperatures are expected to combine with our typical humid summertime air mass to cause heat indices to climb to between 105 and 110 degrees Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Because of these expected rather high heat indices a Heat Advisory has been issued for West Central and Southwest Florida. The good news is that early next week this high will drift west away from the region as a trough develops along the east coast of the United States. This will bring a return to the more typical Florida summertime weather of highs in the lower 90s with scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
Ok, so big deal, it is going to be a little hotter than normal this weekend. The important thing is that research has shown that these high heat indices make the threat of heat related disorders go up substantially. Note on the Heat Index chart below the shaded zone above 105 degrees (the Danger area). This corresponds to a level of heat index that may cause increasingly severe heat disorders with continued exposure and/or physical activity. Therefore, even though we live in Florida where it is rather hot for more than six months of the year, we do not see heat indices this high that often and need to be aware of the potential danger. Also remember, these values are in the SHADE. You can add up to 15 degrees to these numbers if you are in direct sunlight.
Heat Index (Apparent Temperature) Chart
Heat Index (Apparent Temperature) Chart
Heat Safety Tips
Slow down.
Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
Dress for summer.
Lightweight light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
Put less fuel on your inner fires.
Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat, and also increase water loss.
Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic fluids.
Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don not feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.
Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.
Spend more time in air-conditioned places.
Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.
Do not get too much sun.
Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.
Be a good neighbor.
Check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning.
Do not forget your pets.
Make sure they have access to water, ventilation and shade.
NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS IN A PARKED CAR!
The temperature can rise to 135 degrees in less than ten minutes, which can cause death to children or pets. If you see a child or pet left unattended in a parked car, you should call 9-1-1 and alert authorities.
What are the signs of heat related disorders?
SUNBURN:
Redness and pain. In severe cases swelling of skin, blisters, fever, headaches. *First Aid: Ointments for mild cases if blisters appear and do not break. If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by physician.
HEAT CRAMPS:
Painful spasms usually in muscles of legs and abdomen possible. Heavy sweating. *First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use.
HEAT EXHAUSTION:
Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Pulse thready, or in other words weak. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting. *First Aid: Get victim out of sun. Lie down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke):
High body temperature (106 degrees F. or higher). Hot dry skin. Rapid and strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. *First Aid: HEAT STROKE IS A SEVERE MEDICAL EMERGENCY. SUMMON EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE OR GET THE VICTIM TO A HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY. DELAY CAN BE FATAL. Move the victim to a cooler environment. Reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners. If temperature rises again, repeat process. Do not give fluids. Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.
*For more information contact your local American Red Cross Chapter. Ask to enroll in a first aid course.
For more detailed Heat related information visit the following web sites.
http://www.weather.gov/om/heat/index.shtml
http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/heat.php
http://www.epa.gov/heatisland/about/heatguidebook.html