Heat advisories issued for area; weather service provides tips
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2010 9:33 am
By EMILY WILLIAMS
The national weather service has issued a heat advisory for West Tennessee as highs will be in the 90s with heat index ratings reaching 102 to 107 this afternoon.
Thursday and Friday will also be sunny and hot, with a high near 97 and heat index values as high as 104.
Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States and the National Weather Service statistical data shows heat causes more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Based on the 10-year average from 2000 to 2009, excessive heat claims an average of 162 lives a year. By contrast, hurricanes killed 117; floods 65; tornadoes, 62; and lightning, 48.
According to the Univer-sity of Tennessee Extension Service, people may suffer from heat stress during hot, humid conditions, and the climate in Tennessee is conducive to heat stress in the form of heat syncopy (fainting), heat rash, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
When working outside, people are urged to limit strenuous physical activity during the hottest portion of the day, wear a brimmed hat when in the sun, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids.
Heat stroke and other forms of heat stress can be fatal. Symptoms include red, hot, dry skin; headache; dizziness; high temperature; noisy breathing; and unconsciousness.
“If you believe someone has had a heat stroke, immediately move the victim to a cool place and remove the victim’s clothing,” according to the National Weather Service website. “If the victim is conscious, place them in a half-sitting position and support the head and shoulders. If the victim is unconscious, place him on the side with head facing sideways. Fan the victim and place cool wet cloths on the body. Seek professional medical help as soon as possible.”
The NWS is also reminding those under heat advisory never to leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle for any length of time. Each year children die from hyperthermia as a result of being left in parked vehicles. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day, as the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children and pets.
Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate.
According to the Humane Society, precautions to protect pets during extreme heat also include putting a fan out for them and putting ice in their water if they must be left outside.
Editor’s Note: Emily Williams, the daughter of Roger and Juli Williams of Woodland Mills, is a senior at Rhodes College in Memphis. She is interning at The Messenger this summer.
Published in The Messenger 7.21.10