While many of us were focusing on Monday’s Tornado Watch and the Flash Flood Watch, the heat that accompanies heavy rains might have been forgotten. Heat indexes reached the 100 degree mark Monday, July 13, bringing the first wave of heat warnings this summer.
That said, now is the right time to understand the warning signals in place locally for conditions of extreme heat. According to the National Weather Service, heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year.
Residents can visit the KCHD website to learn of any updates of excessive heat throughout the summer. The Health Department will follow the NWS’ system of warnings and advisories and will be posting them all summer. Learn more about the definitions of the terms used by NWS by visiting the agency’s website by clicking HERE.
Further, as we know that heat can affect air quality, the Health Department will be posting alerts on the Air Quality Index as issued by the Partners for Clean Air on the Health Department website HERE.
Historically, heat waves have had a devastating effect on people. In 1995, more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat, making it the deadliest weather event in Chicago history. We also know that in August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives.
Heat-related illnesses can range from heat cramps to heat exhaustion to the more serious heat stroke. No one can know exactly the weather pattern we will experience over the next three or four months. But what we can control is our preparedness and knowledge for heat related events.
Visit the Kane County Health Department website HERE to learn more about and prepare for the dangers of heat.
Four National Weather Service Alert Terms to Know
Using a combination of temperature and humidity over a certain number of days the Excessive Heat Outlook is designed to provide an indication of areas where people and animals may need to take precautions against the heat during the months of May to November.
Issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 12 to 48 hours. A Watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain. A Watch provides enough lead time so that those who need to prepare can do so.
Issued within 12 hours of the onset of a heat index of at least 105 degrees F, but less than 115 degrees F, for less than three hours per day, or nighttime lows above 80 degrees for two consecutive days.
Issued within 12 hours of the onset of a heat index of at least 105 degrees for more than three hours per day for two consecutive days, or heat index more than 115 degrees F for any period of time.