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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2017

Excessive heat warning continues through Saturday

Jul 20, 2017
Courtesy of: National Weather Service

The National Weather Service in the Quad Cities issued an excessive heat warning at 4:31 a.m. today.

According to the warning, which remains in effect until 8 p.m. Saturday, an extended period of dangerous heat and humidity will occur.

A hot and humid air mass will remain over much of the area through Saturday. The heat combined with the humidity will push peak heat index values over 100 degrees, and at night, heat indexes will remain at or above 75 providing little relief.

The cumulative effects of consecutive days with heat indexes over 100 will increase the risk for heat-related illnesses for those spending time outside or without access to air conditioning. According to the warning, children and the elderly are the most susceptible.

“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check on relatives and neighbors, especially the elderly,” states the warning. “Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible. ... To reduce risk during outdoor work the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency, call 911.”

 

Pet safety

The National Weather Service also warned that parked vehicles will become dangerously hot within minutes.

Never leave a pet unattended inside a vehicle, said Donnie Embrey, the team leader for Louisa Virginia Community Animal Response Team. The temperature in a vehicle can rise very quickly and is just as dangerous for pets as it is for people, he continued, adding that rolling down the windows is not a safe alternative.

The National Weather Service reached out to Embrey for information on how to protect pets this summer.

“Pets, just like humans, are susceptible to heat illness — make sure to keep your animals hydrated,” Embrey said. For dogs, “a good general guideline is that a healthy dog should drink between one-half and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day under normal conditions. Of course, any pet will need more water on hot and humid days and your pet’s age, hair type, level of activity, medical history and any prior heat related illness may dictate that your pet needs more water than the average dog.”

When it comes to diet, Embrey says “reducing a pet’s food intake on warmer days can help the pet cope with the heat, especially reducing the intake of grain based foods that cause a metabolic spike in body temperatures.”

Embrey said a common misconception is that giving a pet a buzz cut in the summer is a good idea, but that might not be the best for a pet.

“A pet’s coat acts as insulation, it keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer by blocking the heat of the sun from reaching the skin,” he explained. “The several layers of the dog’s coat keep the heat out and air circulating. If you remove the natural cooling process, the dog will have a harder time coping with the heat.”

Check with a veterinarian or professional groomer to find out what is best for each dog.

A few signs of heat illness in pets are rapid or irregular heart rate, excessive drooling, lethargy, refusal to eat or excessive panting.

“Panting is a normal cooling mechanism for a dog, but a very bad sign for a cat,” said Embrey.

If these signs are noticed, “remove your pet from the heated environment and get it into a cooler environment. Apply cool towels, wring out the warm water, re-wet and reapply. Provide plenty of cool fresh water for the pet, but be careful not to chill the pet.”

Embrey also added that hot asphalt or concrete can easily burn an animal’s paws, so try to minimize walking a pet during the hottest part of the day.

He also suggested placing the back of your hand on the asphalt. “If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.”

 

In the forecast

Scattered thunderstorms could develop later today and tonight, and have the potential to produce damaging wind, large hail and torrential rainfall.

Friday through Saturday, several rounds of thunderstorm complexes will push across portions of the outlook area, mainly along and north of Interstate 80. The storms could be severe with damaging winds, large hail and several inches of rain possible in a short time leading to localized flash flooding.

Hot and humid temperatures can be expected through Saturday. The hotter temperature should generally occur near and south of Highway 30. Temperatures are expected to push well into the 90s, with dew points well into the 70s to around 80. This will soar heat index values to 105 to 110 every afternoon through Saturday. But cloud cover and storm outflow could bring temporary cool downs to the ambient temperatures, especially north of Highway 30.

In Fairfield, tonight, the temperature is expected to be around 76 and there is a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly between 1-4 a.m.

Friday, there is a 10 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 7 a.m. The temperature is expected to be near 98, with the heat index value as high as 106. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Friday night, there is a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 a.m., with a low around 77.

Saturday’s high will be near 96, and there is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. The low will be around 71 Saturday night.

Visit the National Weather Service website for updates.

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