Friday, July 25, 2008

Dangerous Heat Possible

The hottest temperatures of the year so far are expected to greet East Texas this weekend as many locations could top the 100 degree mark. Another strong, mid level, ridge of high pressure is building across the state keeping conditions mainly dry and hot. This is not good news for Texas as much of the state is once again under drought conditions. Many towns across East Texas have already placed outdoor watering bans into effect, and more will probably follow. According to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which measures drought severity on a scale from 0-800, 800 being the worst, most of East Texas is beginning to experience another drought. The chart below shows the KBDI readings between 400 and 800.

Outdoor burning will also become a problem this weekend as very hot and dry conditions dry out vegetation across our region. Temperatures will average between 98and 101 degrees this weekend with heat index values close to 105, the danger category for being outdoors. The heat index is a value used to determine how your body will react to the combination of air temperature and the amount of moisture in the air. The more moisture that is in the air, the harder it is for your body to cool itself because it takes much longer for your sweat to evaporate, cooling your skin. This also causes you to become dehydrated faster because it takes more of your bodies fluids to create a cooling effect. Below is a chart you can use to determine what the heat index is where you live.

So if you have to be outdoors this weekend, remember to drink plenty of water, soda and alcohol can cause dehydration. Also, don’t forget the sun screen. Take it from me, you do not want your scalp to burn, it is no fun. The best thing to do is to stay in an air conditioned environment, maybe take in a movie?

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