Talking Heat Awareness

NOW: Talking Heat Awareness

While we're still waiting for extreme heat here in southern Wisconsin this season, being prepared for it is always a good thing. Today is Heat Awareness Day. Believe it or not, heat is often the leading weather-related killer in the United States. Although heat related deaths and illnesses are preventable, around 618 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year.  

According to emergency management officials, last year preliminary figures from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show five people died in Wisconsin due to heat-related causes. In the last five years, at least 13 people have died in Wisconsin and thousands of residents have fallen ill or been hospitalized due to heat-related conditions.

Some folks have asked if we're in for a cooler summer this year given our slow start to warm weather. Here's what I found when looking for temps in the 90s.

  So as you can see, it would be highly unusual to not see several heat waves during the summer season. Nine days in the 90s is average around our area through our warmer months. And even though June averages don't spell sweltering heat, it can happen.
 Our first triple-digit record comes right at the first of the month. In 1934, the temperature soared to 104 degrees. And we have had triple digit heat, per the records, through August 24th.


So what can you do? During hot weather it's important to check in on family, friends and neighbors, especially those who are at a higher risk, like elderly folks and those without air conditioning. Additionally, infants, young children, older adults and people with chronic disease have a tougher time regulating their body temperature. Be sure they are looked after during hot spells.

Here's a few other common sense tips for hot weather safety:

  •   Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  •   Stay cool - Aim to get in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible during the hottest parts of the day and avoid direct sunlight.
  •   Stay aware - Watch for signs of heat-related illnesses, such as weakness, dizziness, nausea, and muscle cramps. If symptoms don't improve, seek medical attention.
  •  Stay hydrated - Drink plenty of water. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink! 
  •  Stay informed - Pay attention to your Ready Weather forecasts and any heat alerts.

Summer is, for many, the best time of the year here in southeast Wisconsin.  Let's all make sure it's a healthy and safe one this year!

I'm meteorologist Rebecca Schuld

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