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Heat: The Silent Killer

From Jeff Orrock, NWS – Raleigh, Warning Coordination Meteorologist………..

The combination of heat and humidity will bring some of the hottest conditions of the summer this Thursday through Saturday (July 22-24, 2010) with heat index values ranging between 105‑110 degrees. While this is not the first heat wave of the summer, previous heat waves this season have not seen as much humidity and therefore lower heat index vales. A heat index value of 105 degrees or greater dramatically increases the risk of heat related injuries and deaths to those exerting themselves for prolonged period outdoors.

July typically brings some of the hottest weather of the summer and with the heat comes the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. At risk population include children, elderly as well as outdoor workers. There has also been an increase in heat related injuries and fatalities among athletes and those engaged in outdoor sports and recreation during periods of prolonged heat. In the last few years NC has experienced heat related deaths among athletes, farmers, construction workers, children and the elderly.

Research has shown that it is prolonged periods of heat which cause the most problem as those working and playing outdoors are stressed by the heat over a period of days. Typically heat related illnesses and fatalities increase dramatically around the third day of a heat wave. This is why heat is known as the silent killer and claims more lives than and other type of severe weather.

Heat forecasts, safety and references

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