Houston Weather Warning: Heat Exhaustion and Car Deaths
As Houstonians began putting away their winter coats and breaking out their shorts and sandals, the weather took a sudden turn. April was cooler and wetter than expected, but the tables have turned for the month of May. Weather forecasters predict that a large high-pressure system over the area will bring a southeasterly flow from the gulf and a warm southwesterly wind, leading to a spike in temperature. This shift in weather has local authorities warning citizens to take precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
On Saturday, the actual air temperature in Houston could reach 91°F, with a dew point temperature of 74°F and a relative humidity of 58%. Calculated together, this brings a heat index temperature of 101°F! The National Weather Service has even released a calculator for individuals to input their own numbers. Despite the excitement of the warmer weather, it is imperative that individuals take the necessary steps to prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Local authorities have issued a list of friendly reminders when it comes to staying safe during this heatwave. Some of these tips include staying hydrated with water, avoiding the sun during peak hours, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and taking cool showers. Individuals should also be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke which include extreme fatigue, headaches, nausea, and disorientation.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are not the only hazards to be aware of during a heatwave. In addition to the danger to humans, hot cars pose a significant threat to children and pets. Since the beginning of 2021, two children have already died in hot cars, which is an increase from last year’s 22. From 1998 to 2018, there were 800 pediatric vehicular deaths, with an average of 38 deaths per year according to the National Safety Council.
It is easy for cars to overheat quickly, especially with Houston’s high humidity and heat index temperatures. Children are especially susceptible to heat exhaustion and heatstroke because they warm up three to five times faster than adults. Many pets also fall victim to car deaths every year. Breaking a window is not enough in a life-threatening situation. Therefore, it is imperative that individuals take the necessary steps to prevent hot car deaths from occurring.
Despite the heatwave and the dangers that come with it, there is still much to celebrate. Many people in Houston will be honoring Mexican history and traditions on Cinco De Mayo. Meanwhile, in England, a new king is about to be crowned, and the Kentucky Derby will be held. Houstonians can still enjoy the weekend, but they must take the necessary precautions to stay safe in the heat.
Stay cool and have a safe and fresh weekend!
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me.
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