"It's Summer, it's hot, get over it." While it's true, Summer does tend to bring about the occasional heat wave in the U.S., but you have to admit, this combination of heat and humidity in the East is a little ridiculous. In fact, it can be downright dangerous! Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the U.S. according to the National Weather Service (NWS). With temperatures forecast to soar into the 90s and even 100s with epically high dew points in the mid to upper 70s and even 80s, the heat indices across a large portion of the East will breach 100F this weekend.
But just what is the heat index? Shouldn't the ambient temperature tell me all I need to know about how hot it is? Partially yes, the outside temperature is part of the equation, but when you combine humidity with that heat, it can feel a lot hotter. As defined by the NWS, the heat index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relatively humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature. Wondering what the heat index is where you live? Use the chart below to figure out your heat index (*Note: these index values were created for shady, light wind conditions; exposure to full sun can increase heat index values up to 15F!).
The best thing to do during times of extreme heat is to RELAX. Stay out of the sun and inside air conditioning, if possible. If you absolutely have to be outside in the heat, drink plenty of water and dress appropriately in light-weight, light-colored clothing. Check on any elderly neighbors or family members as they are especially prone to heat-related illness, as are children. Speaking of children, including the furry variety, make sure they take it easy as well and are drinking plenty of fluids. And please, we hate that we have to say it, but ALWAYS check that back seat. NO ONE, neither human nor animal, under any circumstances should be left unattended inside a car in these conditions. In the kind of heat we're experiencing, the heat inside a car becomes life-threatening within minutes, see chart below on some general information on how fast a car heats up. In the heat we're experiencing right now in the eastern U.S., temperatures inside a car will exceed 100F in under 10 minutes. So far in 2016 there have been 26 child vehicular heatstroke deaths which is already greater than the entire year of 2015, and we've still got a month left of Summer (according to the Sun) but even with relatively cooler outside temperatures, heat deaths in cars can still occur.
In short, if you have air conditioning at home and you don't have to go somewhere, it's best to ride this out at home…. or the pool …. or Antarctica. Stay cool!