DULUTH, MN– We have reached the last day of Severe Weather Awareness week and the final topic to cover is extreme heat.
The Northland normally does not see extreme heat, and we can partially thank Lake Superior for that. The average high temperature in the summer months peaks around 76 degrees in Duluth.
Occasionally though, the Northland will see temperatures get well into the 80s and even 90s, and we do see humid conditions as well.
The combination of high heat and humidity is never good, and it can lead to health problems, and even death.
If conditions are right, the National Weather Service (NWS) will issue the following heat-related alerts:
- Excessive Heat Outlook: This means that the potential for extreme heat exists within the next three to seven days, and this provides the proper amount of preparation time, such as health and public officials, along with emergency management
- Excessive Heat Watch: This is issued when conditions are favorable within the next one to three days. The watch is usually issued when there is a better chance of a heat wave occurring, but the timing is still unsure.
- Excessive Heat Warning: A warning is issued when the probability of extreme heat occurring is likely within the next 36 hours and can pose a serious threat to life.
- Heat Advisory: This is less serious than a warning, but can still cause some discomfort and if the proper actions aren’t taken, it could lead to life being threatened
Shown below is the heat index chart, which shows what it would feel like when you combine air temperature and relative humidity.
The biggest thing everyone needs to know is never leave your pets or children in a parked vehicle. Each year, many pets and dozens of children die from Hyperthermia, which is a condition where the body absorbs more heat than it can handle.
The Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) has some very important things to keep in mind, including tips on how to stay cool and to know the signs and symptoms if someone is suffering from the heat.
- Wear light-colored, light-weight and loose-fitting clothes
- No matter what you are doing, always drink plenty of fluids, but avoid alcohol, avoid very cold drinks or anything with high amounts of sugar in it.
- Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start drinking.
- Stay indoors in an air-conditioned environment as much as you can. If your house does not have air-conditioning, go to a place that does, like a shopping mall or public library for a few hours.
- Always check up on the elderly, young children and those who may have a disability
If you have to be outdoors, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Limit your outdoor activity to the early morning or evening hours.
- Cut down on exercising, but if you have to, be sure to drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcohlic beverages each hour
- Take frequent breaks in a shaded area
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or greater
The Minnesota Department of Health has a link to more information on extreme heat, including more tips.
A quick reminder that Wisconsin will be holding their statewide tornado drill at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Friday. Minnesota’s drill will not be occurring this year.