Heat Advisories: Why They’re Important
It kills more people in the United States on average than tornadoes, hurricanes or flooding. In 2013, it killed 92 Americans and over the last 10 years, it’s killed an average of 123 Americans. And it’s perhaps the most preventable of all weather-related fatalities.
Extreme heat is an everyday occurrence during the summer months for virtually all of the lower 48 states of the U.S., yet people frequently don’t do enough to protect themselves from high temperatures (and the high humidity that often accompanies it). The elderly in particular (People 60 or over accounted for over half of 2013 heat-related deaths) are susceptible to heat deaths for obvious reasons, and they need to be checked on, particularly if they live in a home without air conditioning.
The National Weather Service in Paducah, KY today issued a terrific warning (accompanying their heat advisory for almost all of western Kentucky) outlining some of the real-life specific threats that heat can pose to average citizens, including sports games and even state fairs. Here’s a look at it:
Of course, one of the biggest and frankly most horrifying (and preventable) forms of death from heat comes from parents/caretakers accidentally leaving children in cars on hot summer days. Never, EVER leave your child in a car alone – even on a “cooler” day where temperatures might “only” be in the 60s, the sun can quickly warm a car to the point where a child could easily suffocate to death. It’s one of the most mind-boggling and disturbing occurrences, particularly since it seems to happen on a semi-regular basis in America.
Wear light-colored clothing, take frequent breaks (regardless of age!) if you’re working or playing outside, and check on those without air conditioning and/or invite them to your air conditioned place of residence, if you have that luxury. Check on the young and old, and if you or a loved one is feeling faint, head to the shade or an air conditioned location.
Indications are that the heat in the deep South and Southeast won’t relent until early next week, so keep that in mind for weekend activities if you’re reading from Wichita, Kansas to Dallas, Texas to St. Louis, Missouri to Atlanta, Georgia. With reasonable precautions, you’ll be just fine, but please remember to respect America’s top weather-related killer. This weekend could feature the hottest stretch of weather that a big chunk of the United States sees all year.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi