Heat the leading weather-related killer in U.S.

Updated:
Heat the leading weather-related killer in U.S. story image
SAN ANTONIO – If you live in South Texas, you know it gets really hot during the summer months. Most of us know to find a shady spot and drink plenty of liquids to try to stay cool. But that may not be enough when high temperatures combine with high humidity, and the heat can turn deadly.

Information from NOAA:

Heat: A Major Killer

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. In the disastrous heat wave of 1980, more than 1,250 people died. In the heat wave of 1995  more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat, making this the deadliest weather event in Chicago history. In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives.

CLICK HERE to check out NOAA's Heat Index Chart

NOAA's Watch, Warning, and Advisory Products for Extreme Heat

Each National Weather Service Forecast Office issues the following heat-related products as conditions warrant:

• Excessive Heat Outlook: are issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days. An Outlook provides information to those who need considerable lead time to prepare for the event, such as public utility staff, emergency managers and public health officials.

• Excessive Heat Watches: are issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours. A Watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain. A Watch provides enough lead time so that those who need to prepare can do so, such as cities officials who have excessive heat event mitigation plans.

• Excessive Heat Warning/Advisories are issued when an excessive heat event is expected in the next 36 hours. These products are issued when an excessive heat event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring. The warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life. An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant discomfort or inconvenience and, if caution is not taken, could lead to a threat to life.

How Forecasters Decide Whether to Issue Excessive Heat Products

NOAA's heat alert procedures are based mainly on Heat Index Values. The Heat Index, sometimes referred to as the apparent temperature is given in degrees Fahrenheit. The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.

To find the Heat Index temperature, look at the Heat Index chart. As an example, if the air temperature is 96°F and the relative humidity is 65%, the heat index--how hot it feels--is 121°F. The National Weather Service will initiate alert procedures when the Heat Index is expected to exceed 105°-110°F (depending on local climate) for at least 2 consecutive days.
Heat the leading weather-related killer in U.S.
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