Shawnee, and the rest of Oklahoma, is under a heat advisory by the National Weather Service until around 7 p.m. this evening.
But the heat may not stop there.
With a high of 103 degrees Thursday and a high of 106 degrees forecasted today, it’s important to know how to keep cool and stay safe.
So far this summer, 11 patients have been seen for heat-related illness in the ER at SSM St. Anthony Hospital Shawnee.
It’s hot, so what?
Heat can be dangerous. A heat advisory is issued within 12 hours of the beginning of dangerous heat conditions, so when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 100 degrees of higher for at least two days.
Not only are the UV rays emitted by the sun dangerous, although according to the NWS, the rays may contribute to skin cancer, but the air quality can be harmful as well.
The Department of Environmental Quality issued an air quality health advisory, reaching unhealthy in Oklahoma and Lincoln counties, and “unhealthy for sensitive groups” in Pottawatomie and Cleveland Counties, as well as about 14 other counties throughout the state. The advisory indicates that there is a high concentration of ozone which contributes to a hotter, more humid day. The department also issued an ozone watch for the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas for July 20.
DEQ has issued an air quality health advisory. For more information, visit https://t.co/ee8yBgIA6C
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According to the NWS, “intensifying high pressure is producing dangerous heat and humidity in the south-central U.S. with heat indexes possibly exceeding 110.”
Extremely hot and humid weather can result in heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or other heat-related illnesses.
We've officially gone to plaid #okwx #okmesonet pic.twitter.com/Tv4RHIhBJ6— Oklahoma Mesonet (@okmesonet) July 19, 2018
According to NPR, rising heat and hot days can also slow down thinking.
How can I stay safe?
Because staying inside for days on end, those who go outside should remember to stay hydrated. Sweating is gross, yes, but it’s the body’s way of staying cool. Stop sweating and you know you need more water.
Stay in the shade, if it’s possible, and move laborious tasks to the early morning or late evening when the sun isn’t quite as harsh. Protect your skin from UV rays using sunscreen that’s at least SPF 30.
The DEQ also recommends carpooling, waiting until evening to refuel your vehicle and limiting the use of drive-through windows, as well as other things, in order to help avoid ozone formation.
The hottest recorded temperature in the state was in Alva at 120 degrees in July 1936, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey. Grandfield, Oklahoma, had 101 days straight of temperatures of 100 degrees or higher in 2011.