Extreme Heat and Drought
What qualifies as “extreme heat?” Extreme heat is a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two or three days.
Preparing for Extreme Heat
- Try to keep your home cool.
- Learn to recognize the signs of heat illness.
- Keep plenty of bottled water at home.
Terms to Know About Extreme Heat:
- Heat Wave: a period of abnormally hot weather generally lasting more than two days.
- Heat Index: a measure of how hot it feels when humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.
- Heat Cramps: muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Heat cramps may be the first signal that the body is having trouble with heat.
- Signs: Sudden development of muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs.
- Actions: Go to a cooler location and remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Seek immediate medical attention if cramps last more than an hour.
- Heat Exhaustion: typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating.
- Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and fainting.
- Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath, shower or use cold compresses. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Seek immediate medical attention if the person vomits, symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
- Heat Stroke (also called Sun Stroke): a life-threatening condition. The victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working.
- Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) indicated by an oral thermometer; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; and unconsciousness.
- Actions: Call 9-1-1 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Do NOT give fluids. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.
During days with extreme heat:
- Find air conditioning. If outside, find shade.
- Avoid strenuous and high-energy activities. Slow down during the hottest part of the day and stay indoors.
- Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face and loose, light-colored clothing.
- Limit exposure to the sun. The sun is most powerful between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Use sunscreen. Apply it at least 20 minutes before going outside.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Watch for signs of heat-related illness.
Nearly every part of the U.S. experiences periods of reduced rainfall and drought.
- Usually last for a season or longer
- Are a natural, reoccurring feature of climate
- Are affected by human factors
- Are one of the costliest weather-related events
If Williamson County is in a drought, try to conserve water where you can. For example, don’t leave the sink on while brushing your teeth, instead just turn on the water when you need it.