In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all
other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a
prolonged period of excessive heat, generally 10 degrees or more
above average, often combined with excessive humidity.
You will likely hear weather forecasters use these terms when a
heat wave is predicted in your community:
- Excessive Heat Watch - Conditions are
favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local
Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24-78 hours.
- Heat Advisory - Heat Index values are
forecasting to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1-2
days (daytime highs = 100-105 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Index values
are forecasting to meet or exceed locally defined warning
criteria for at least 2-days (daytime highs = 100-105 degrees
Preparing for a Heat Wave:
- Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming
- Be aware of both the temperature and the heat index.
The heat index is the temperature the body feels when the
effects of heat and humidity are combined.
- Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your
household. Have a plan for wherever you spend time - home,
work & school - and prepare for
- Check the contents of your
Emergency Disaster Kit in case a power outage occurs.
- Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick
or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of
excessive heat and may need help.
- If you do not have air conditioning, choose places you could
go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the
day (schools, libraries, theaters, malls).
- Be aware that people living in urban areas may be at greater
risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than people
living in rural areas.
- Get trained in First Aid to learn how to treat heat-related
- Ensure that your animal's needs for water and shade are met.
What to do in a Heat Wave:
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the
National Weather Service (NWS).
- Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do
not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Eat small meals and eat more often.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun's rays.
- Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during
the hottest part of the day.
- Postpone outdoor games and activities.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
- Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air
conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more
likely to be affected by the heat.
- Check on your animals frequently to ensure they are not
suffering from the heat.