Although it’s still four days until the official start of summer, the thermometer is telling southeast Missourians a completely different story with today’s temperatures expected to hit the upper-90s and a heat advisory remaining in effect for St. Francois and surrounding counties from noon until 7 p.m. tonight.
The National Weather Service is warning that heat index values are expected to rise to about 105 degrees Thursday afternoon and will remain high into the early evening hours. Heat index values of up to 107 degrees is expected due to temperatures in the mid to upper-90s and dew points in the lower 70s.
Heat stress is cumulative and this will be the fourth of at least five days with heat index values above 100 degrees.
According to NWS, a heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures and high humidity will occur. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity could lead to an increased risk of heat-related stress and illness. Most susceptible to the heat are the very young, the elderly, those without air-conditioning and anyone participating in strenuous outdoor activities.
Those in the advisory area are advised to avoid poorly ventilated areas and prolonged work in the sun. It’s also important to keep plenty of liquids on hand and to stay in an air-conditioned environment.
To reduce health risks for those doing outside work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location and 911 should be called immediately.
Also, take note that car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a mater of minutes, so check the backseat. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. This is especially true during times of warm or hot weather.
St. Francois County 911 Director Alan Wells said that, as of Wednesday night, there were no plans to open any cooling centers today.
For local weather updates, as well as the latest NWS-issued advisories, watches and warnings, check out the Daily Journal website at www.dailyjournalonline.com.
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org