Extreme heat is a killer and has taken more lives in Southeast Texas than tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms combined.
Most people in good health will make it through the summer just fine, especially if they have invested in air conditioning, but some can suffer serious illnesses and injury.
Who are most likely to be affected by extreme heat?
The extreme heat crisis in the summer of 1998 claimed 22 lives, out of which 14 people were over the ages of 55. Out of the 22 deaths, 17 of the people that passed away were found to be dead inside their homes. Out of the 17 deaths in homes, 16 of those people had no air-conditioning or didn’t have it turned on at the time. Out of the 17 that died inside their home, 8 of them were relying on ceiling fans as their only relief from extreme temperatures.
Here are the people that will be at risk the most due to extreme heat in Southeast Texas:
- People above the age of 55
- Children under 5 years
- People suffering with chronic cardio-pulmonary disease
- People suffering from kidney disease
- People having impaired mobility, or physical or mental disabilities
What Counts as Extreme Heat?
The National Weather Service will issue a high heat alert, whenever the daily heat index will soar above 105 degrees or when the heat index during the night climbs over 80 degrees. The heat index is calculated through relative humidity and outdoor temperature.
If the relative humidity is 75 and outdoor temperature is 94 degrees, then the heat index will be 105 degrees. These are extreme heat conditions and in such cases people in Southeast Texas are advised to take precautions, which include limiting their outdoor activities, increasing water consumption and spending the majority of their day in an air-conditioned environment.
Precautions to be taken in Case of Extreme Heat
In the event of facing extreme heat, you should take the following precautions in Southeast Texas:
- Spend the majority of your time indoors
- Keep your air-conditioner turned on
- Take a visit to one of the District’s “Cooling Centers”, which are located throughout the city, if you don’t have an air-conditioned environment.
- Don’t leave your pets and children inside the vehicle
- Drink lots of water
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing
- Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside
- Limit your exposure under the sun, especially when the heat is during its peak
- Check for symptoms such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke or heat cramps