A heatwave spanning from coast to coast in the United States has many weather experts predicting that circumstances may be perfect to create a “heat dome.” A heat dome is a weather phenomenon that occurs when a high-pressure system functions like a lid on a jar, making it difficult for hot air to escape from a certain region. As the hot air attempts to escape, it sinks, and as it sinks, the air gets even hotter.
The Heat Dome: across the US pay attention to heat stroke. NCal has little humidity luckily; watch humidity levels. pic.twitter.com/QjLqxikzFY
— Rome Strach (@romn8tr) July 17, 2016
Where Will The Highest Temperatures Be Recorded?
The Midwest will be impacted the most by the heat dome by Thursday of this week. Heat indexes will reach into the 100’s and even 110’s from Southern Texas into Northern Minnesota. The hardest hit area is predicted to be in Arizona where the heat index is slated to hit 116 degrees or higher by the end of the week.
Symptoms Of Heat Exhaustion
- Profuse Sweating
- Lack Of Energy
- Inability To Think Clearly
- Upset Stomach
- Tachycardia (Fast Heartbeat)
Symptoms Of Heatstroke
- Core Body Temperature Of 104 Degrees Or Higher
- Intense Headache
- Lack Of Sweat
- Cramping And Fatigue Of Muscles
- Tachycardia (Fast Heartbeat)
- Tachypnea (Fast Breathing)
— io9 (@io9) July 18, 2016
How To Stay Safe And Avoid Heatstroke And Heat Exhaustion
The easiest way to stay safe in extreme heat is to ensure that the body is hydrated. The human body can quickly dehydrate in extreme temperatures due to the body sweating which is designed to cool off the body. Without drinking water to replace the fluid lost through sweat, dehydration will occur rapidly. If dehydration is bad enough, the body will not be able to produce sweat which leads to the deadly condition of heatstroke.
Another easy way to stave off heat related illnesses is to avoid the heat altogether. In order to do this, staying inside an air conditioned environment is the key. If you do not have air conditioning in your home, you should consider going to places that have air conditioning. Some of these places include libraries, stores, or friends/family homes. Some cities that are known for extreme temperatures may have special shelters in place that have air conditioning.
Some people may not have the option to stay out of the heat due to their job or other circumstances. If you do have to be exposed to the heat, there are options that you can exercise to decrease the chances of succumbing to heat-related illnesses.
If possible, limit your time outdoors to early morning or evening when the temperature is cooler. Try to take frequent breaks in shaded areas. In addition to drinking water, drink other liquids such as Gatorade that can replenish vital electrolytes.
Besides people, the incoming heat dome will also have an impact on produce being grown in the Midwest. In areas where corn is being grown, the process that corn goes through actually has a role in increasing the heat index in the area. Corn crops pull water out of the soil and release that water into the air. As more water gets into the air, the humidity increases. With higher humidity comes higher heat indexes.
The incoming heat dome is not something to be taken lightly. The elderly and young children are impacted by extreme heat more than any other age group. Animals are also very sensitive to the higher temperatures that are to be expected during this heat dome. Make sure to check on friends and family that fit into the age groups that are likely to be impacted by the heat this week.
Are you prepared for the heat dome?
[Image via Fotolia/AP Images]