WEATHER: Beat the Heat

Posted at 7:55 AM, Jun 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-19 08:24:24-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The hottest temperatures so far this year are here for the rest of this work-week as a strengthening ridge of high pressure expands over the Mid-Atlantic. As the saying goes, “it’s not just the heat, but the humidity,” and that will be true Wednesday through Friday. Heat index values (in the shade) will make it feel like it’s about 100 degrees, but 105 to 110 degrees when you’re in the sunshine.

School’s out for Summer now for most Central Virginia students, and the astronomical beginning of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere (the Summer Solstice) is Wednesday, June 20 at 7:09 p.m. EDT.
This first “official” week of Summer will feel more like a mid-Summer heat wave, and at a time when the kiddos are likely spending more time outdoors than they have since last Summer. Please ensure all members of your family (including pets), friends, and neighbors are enjoying Summer fun safely!

CLICK HERE for our CBS 6 Storm Team heat safety tips.

You should re-familiarize yourself with the Heat Index chart, remembering that this is for what the sensory temperature feels like to you in the shade. You can tack on another 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit if you’re in the sunlight.

Here’s a similar graph, detailing some of the impacts you can experience:

And here are some quick tips to stay safe outdoors this week in the heat and humidity:

Heat-related illness is sometimes described as a “quiet killer” because it’s not a natural disaster that is visibly destructive, like a tornado or hurricane. However, on average more than 30 outdoor workers (people often well-equipped to daily deal with the elements) have died from heat exposure every year since 2003.The Department of Homeland Security, NWS, CDC, and EPA collaborated to create An Excessive Heat Events Guidebook for you. CLICK HERE to check it out!

If your profession requires you to be outdoors for extended periods of time, CLICK HERE for information directed for you.

NOAA provides the following heat illness descriptions:
Heat Disorder Symptoms

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 Example of a woman with severe sunburn on her back and armsbreaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by physician.

HEAT CRAMPS: Painful spasms usually in the muscles of legs and abdomen with heavy sweating.
First Aid:
Firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water.

HEAT EXHAUSTION: Heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, clammy skin; thready pulse; fainting and vomiting but may have normal temperature.
First Aid:
Get victim out of sun. Once inside, the person should lay down and loosen his or her clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air-conditioned room. Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.

HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke): High body temperature (106° 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. While waiting for emergency assistance, 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.
(All of the above information on heat-related illness is from NOAA here.)

Of course, heat impacts are amplified within enclosed spaces like vehicles. Even parked with open windows, higher temperatures occur inside vehicles because of the glass, the dash, the often-dark colored fabrics inside radiating back heat inside the vehicle. This is obviously a serious danger to pets or children left in parked vehicles. NOAA says that last year 33 children died from hyperthermia (overexposure to heat).

CLICK HERE to learn more about heat safety for you, your family, and your pets.
CLICK HERE for car safety tips.

If you choose to cool off in our River City, the James River is currently below the 5 ft life vest law level, but you should always check the river level before you get in or on the James in Richmond. CLICK HERE for the latest hydrograph for the Westham Gauge.

CLICK HERE for beach safety tips.

As many of you try to keep your Summer yards and gardens thriving, you may be watering extra this week (especially with low rain chances). Here are some simple tips to save water (and money!) in your home:

Happy Summer!

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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