Extreme Heat and Sun Safety

Summers in our region are famous for having temperatures over 90 degrees and extremely high humidity. Extreme heat causes many dangers — to people, animals and infrastructure. Around 100 Americans die each year from extreme heat, and many more suffer through over-exertion and heat-related stress. Pets react to extreme heat through reduced feeding and increased respiration; while livestock can shut down production to help cool themselves. In addition, as there is greater emphasis on air conditioners and other cooling devices, there is a greater risk for power outages that can further impact our lives.

What is a Heat Wave?

A heat wave is an extended period of abnormally hot and humid weather – lasting from several days to more than a week. Temperatures during this period must be at least five degrees above normal for at least two days or more. Humid conditions add to the discomfort, as high atmospheric pressure traps the moist air near the ground and may lead to severe weather. In contrast, dry heat conditions can cause dust storms that limit visibility and increase potential for fire.

Common Terms
  • Excessive Heat Watch – Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to occur within the next 24-72 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Advisory – Heat index values are forecast to range from 100-104 degrees for at least the next two days.
  • Excessive Heat Warning – Heat index values are forecast to reach or exceed 105 degrees for at least the next two days.
  • Excessive Heat Health Emergency – Heat index values are forecast to reach or exceed 105 degrees for at least the next two days and a significant level of heat-related illnesses or deaths have been reported.
  • Heat Index - is the temperature the body feels when heat and humidity are combined.  Click on the link to view this combination.