‘Pretty oppressive outside’: This week’s steamy weather outlook

It will be hot this week — but it will feel even hotter.

Experts warn of excessive heat and the need to take precautions because of it through the Fourth of July revelry and beyond in all three South Florida counties.

Robert Garcia, a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said through the weekend, it will be a “summertime forecast typical for South Florida” in July.

That means a forecast in the lower 90s, potentially some mid-90s. The overnight hours won’t help: “We’re going to see very little relief from the heat,” Garcia said. That means a low along the coast of the lower 80s, with most areas getting scant relief of the mid to upper 70s.

But the numbers are deceptive: Once humidity is factored in, the temperature will actually “feel like many days (in the) mid to upper 100s,” Garcia said.

Until we get some help from showers and thunderstorms to cool us off, “it’s going to feel pretty oppressive outside.”

Folks need to be aware, Garcia said, and be vigilant about staying “hydrated (and take), frequent cooling rest breaks. It’s going to be a situation where folks can have their health impacted by the heat pretty quickly.

“It can certainly feel oppressive out there.”

Extreme heat

Heat kills more Americans than any other weather event, including tornadoes and flooding, even though most heat-related deaths are preventable through outreach and intervention, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Heat is the silent killer. No one thinks about it,” said Ben Zaitchik, a professor and climate scientist at Johns Hopkins University whose research includes heat waves. “It’s getting hotter just about everywhere. That means even without a particular weather phenomenon, like what we’re seeing in Texas right now, we’re seeing temperatures we aren’t used to, and that in its own right is a risk.”

The body normally cools itself by sweating, but extreme heat can interrupt your ability to do that, potentially leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, organ failure or death.

Older adults, young children and people with chronic illnesses like diabetes are most at risk.

You might be experiencing a heat stroke if your body temperature reaches or surpasses 103 degrees. Other symptoms include nausea, headaches, thirst and a fast and strong heart rate.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heat stroke is a medical emergency and recommends that people with symptoms call 911.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, vomiting and cold, pale or clammy skin. The CDC says you should seek treatment if such symptoms worsen or last more an hour.

Some tips to help in extreme heat:

  • Stay hydrated, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink fluids.
  • Limit your sun exposure by staying in the shade or using an umbrella. Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat or cap.
  • If you work outside and have access to cool water, consider soaking your shirt and repeating the process every hour or whenever it dries out.

This report was supplemented by information from the Associated Press.

Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at lhuriash@sunsentinel.com. Follow on Twitter @LisaHuriash

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