The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for all of Central Illinois for Friday and Saturday as dangerous heat returns to the region. A powerful ridge will build into the region through the start of the weekend, sending temperatures into the upper 90s and heat index values into the triple digits.
A cold front will bring some minor relief to the area on Sunday. Temperatures will fall back in to the lower 90s and upper 80s on Sunday with a chance for scattered showers and storms. Unfortunately, the break from the heat will be brief as temperatures will return to the low to mid-90s for the Fourth of July with heat index values once again over 100°
So it's hot, what's the big deal?
It may come as a surprise to some, but on average heat is the number one cause of weather-related fatalities. Between 1986 and 2015, an average of 130 people died each year as a result of heat. That's more than those killed by hurricanes and tornadoes combined.
It's true that people can live and thrive in areas where temperatures reach the 90s and triple digits, but its the amount of moisture in the air that will impact the human body. In an environment where temperatures are hot and the air is dry (low dew points), the sweat on your body will evaporate allowing your body to cool off. However, if it's hot and humid (high dew points), the air cannot hold much more moisture which means there will be less evaporation. If your sweat is not being evaporated off your skin, then the body can not cool off effectively which may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Feeling Faint or Dizzy
- Excessive Sweating
- Cool, Pale, Clammy Skin
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Rapid, Weak Pulse
- Muscle Cramps
What to do when you, or someone you know, is suffering from Heat Exhaustion: Get to a cooler and air-conditioned place and drink plenty of water. Take a cool shower or use cold compresses.
- A throbbing Headache
- No Sweating
- Body Temperature Above 103°/ Red, Hot, Dry Skin
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Rapid, Strong Pulse
- May Lose Consciousness
What to do when you, or someone you know, is suffering from Heat Stroke: Call 9-1-1! Take immediate action to cool the individual down until help arrives.
- Stay hydrated and rest in the shade
- Find Air Conditioning
- Avoid strenuous activity
- Wear light clothing
- Check on family members and neighbors, especially the elderly, sick and those without air conditioning
- Never leave people or pets in a closed vehicle