Caution urged as heat index reaches triple digits in Douglas County
Temperatures in the mid to upper 90s and high humidity are driving the heat index to triple digits and making for dangerous conditions.
Brandon Drake, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Topeka, said the temperature in Lawrence was expected to top out at about 94 to 95 degrees around 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Making the days extremely uncomfortable is the humidity, which should produce a heat index of 105 on Monday and 107 on Tuesday. Daytime highs are expected back off to the low 90s Wednesday and Thursday, Drake said, but the heat index those two days should be about 100.
“You certainly want to keep in mind caution as far as the heat index,” Drake said.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the weather service issued a news release Monday listing the symptoms of heat stress and heat stroke and steps to help avoid those conditions. The warnings suggest that northeast Kansas residents:
• Stay in air-conditioned locations when possible.
• Drink plenty of fluids, with water and diluted sport electrolyte drinks recommended.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
The press release also asks residents to look in on seniors or people with disabilities who are more vulnerable to heat stress or heat stroke, especially when power outages render inoperable needed medical devices.
Symptoms of heat stress include heavy sweating, weakness, nausea or vomiting, fast or weak pulse rate and cold, pale and clammy skin. Early signs include cramps, heat rash, fainting or light-headedness and a pulse rate of 100 beats per minute or more.
According to medical experts, a person with heat stress should lie down in a cooler location and sip water. Wet cloths should be placed on the head, neck, arm pits and upper legs until the heart rate is well under 100 beats per minute.
Signs of heat stroke are body temperature of 103 degrees or more, rapid or strong pulse, mental confusion, agitation or unconsciousness and hot, red skin, which can be dry or moist. Call 911 immediately when a person is suspected of suffering from heat stroke.