Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Heat Elevated to Dangerous Levels

We are entering the month of August with the hottest weather we have seen so far this year. While feeling the triple digit heat is not all that uncommon in August, what is unusual is how high the mercury will be climbing each afternoon this week.

On Monday, we reached 106° at the Angelina County Airport, just south of Lufkin. That reading was the hottest day we have seen to date so far in 2011. Unfortunately, it could get worse in the days ahead, as a big dome of high pressure strengthens and situates itself over the Southern Plain states.

This is the type of weather pattern which often gives us a stretch of triple digit temperatures this time of year. However, just as we've seen through the spring and summer months so far, this summer is not your typical summer. It has been unseasonably hot, due in large part to the exceptional drought, which continues to plague most of the state.

With that dry ground in place, it makes it easier for the temperatures to heat up, especially now that we are in the month of August.

With our hottest stretch of weather setting in this week, the National Weather Service has put several of our East Texas counties under an "Excessive Heat Warning." This is a step up from the regular heat advisory that we typically see issued this time of year.

What this advisory means is that heat stroke and/or heat exhaustion can set in very quickly, especially if you find yourself outdoors for an extended period of time.

While advice on how to keep cool is common sense, there is one thing I want to point out that I feel is vitally important to those of you that don't have air conditioning: Please seek that A/C if you don't have any. This might mean calling a friend or neighbor, and having them take you in at their place of residence. Another option would be to go to a mall, movie theater, grocery store, or restaurant that has air conditioning. Try to take advantage of these public facilities that have air conditioning.

It is during these types of heat waves we often hear about heat related deaths and illnesses. Please don't let yourself or a close friend be a victim. Let's take care of ourselves and each other and make sure we are doing what is necessary to stay cool during this heat wave.