2017-07-19 / Front Page

Hotter weather expected


With temperatures already in the high 80s to low 90s for the past 10 days, it’s expected to get even hotter through Sunday.

Especially on Friday and Saturday, when the heat index is expected to rise to dangerous levels, residents should stay indoors or stay in the shade when possible.

Daytime high temperatures in Whitesburg since July 11 have ranged from a low of 87.7 on July 10 on to a high of 91.7 on July 12. The temperature has been 87.9 and up every day since, with humidity at 97-99 percent at night, according to Kentucky Mesonet, a network of automated weather and climate monitoring stations developed by Western Kentucky University’s Kentucky Climate Center.

Low relative humidity during the day as helped make the heat more bearable, with the heat index staying about the same as the outdoor temperature.

That could change this week, however. The Weather Channel is forecasting the high today to be 90 degrees with 61 percent humidity for a heat index of 100 degrees. The temperature is expected to increase to 95 by Friday with a heat index of 105 or above, according to the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center. The forecast is calling for 94 on Saturday and 90 again on Sunday, with the heat index over 100 each day.

The heat index is computed for the shade and can be up to 15 degrees higher in direct sun. A heat index of over 103 is considered dangerous, according to the National Weather Service.

The heat index is a measure of how hot it feels outside, rather than the actual temperature. As the humidity increases, the body’s ability to cool itself decreases because sweat can’t evaporate. That causes the body temperature to rise, and can cause heat related injuries such as a heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Pets are also at risk, and should be kept indoors and out of the heat. Children and pets should never be left in a car on hot days, but it becomes even more important when the heat index rises. A body temperature over 106 can cause cell damage, seizures and death. A body temperature over 109 degrees can cause irreversible organ damage and death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 600 people a year die from heat-related injury every year in the United States. Heat exhaustion, a precursor to heat stroke, is characterized by profuse sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, muscle cramps, goose bumps even in direct sun, and headache.

Heat stroke occurs when the person stops sweating. Symptoms include a throbbing headache, confusion or altered mental state, nausea, rapid heart beat and breathing, and muscle weakness or cramps.

If a person begins showing signs of heat-related injury, get them into a cool place, remove outer layers of clothing and pore cool water over towels on the extremities. If there are symptoms of heatstroke, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Temperatures are expected to fall on Monday when thunderstorms arrive.

The high Monday is forecast to be around 85. Thunderstorms continue in the forecast every day next week, with highs in the 80s.

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