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June 21 thru 27 is officially designated Lightning Safety and Awareness Week by the National Weather Service. Being from Tampa which can generally be considered the lightning capital of the United States, this is nothing new. Historically speaking, maybe only 10-15% of lightning strike victims suffer fatal injuries, however anyone struck by lightning will suffer significant and permanent injuries. According to NOAA, people struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and an inability to sit for long.

Now for some brief notes regarding 2008′s lightning strike victims:

# In 2008, 28 people died due to lightning strikes
# Hundreds of others were permanently injured.  Of the victims who were killed by lightning in 2008:
* 100% outside
* 79% male
* 36% males between the ages of 20-25
* 32% under a tree
* 29% on or near the water

For more information regarding lightning safety, visit http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/

Astronomical Summer begins today at 12:45am, but summer style temperatures have persisted for about 10 days so far. Unfortunately for me this also means our severe weather chances are basically gone as well. A strong high pressure ridge has dug in across the lower continental United States (CONUS) but low level moisture will continue to flow from the Gulf. This will create partly cloudy skies, high humidity, and very high heat indexes.

062109-0010-graphicast1

Weather conditions will continue to persist through the next 7 days, with temps possibly reaching 100 this Tuesday and beyond. With the high dew points, this will continue to cause heat indexes near 105-110 degrees. Officially, the National Weather Service issues heat advisories when the heat index is forecast to meet or exceed 105F for 3 hours or more. This is because the human body can no longer effectively sweat away heat once the heat index reaches that temperature. Heat stroke risk increases substantially once the outdoor heat index reaches this point.

062109-0010-graphicast2

Last year in July, DFW airport recorded all 31 days exceeding 90 degrees with 16 of those days exceeding 100 degrees! July last year only gave 2.12 inches of rain with just 4 of the 31 days producing thunderstorms. Generally speaking, the average humidity this time of year will reach about 50% however, this compares to Tampa which averages about 75%.

If you desire more info regarding climate summaries, you can check out a previous blog post I made detailing Tampa FL vs Dallas TX.

http://watchingtheskies.com/2008/10/05/dallas-tx-tampa-florida-very-detailed-weather-comparison/

Also some helpful information regarding heat stress on your body, perceived temperatures due to humidity and how to prevent heat stroke:

HeatIndexChart

Heat Safety Tips
Slow down.
Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.

Dress for summer.
Lightweight light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.

Put less fuel on your inner fires.
Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat, and also increase water loss.

Do not drink alcoholic beverages.

Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic fluids.
Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don not feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.

Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

Spend more time in air-conditioned places.
Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.

Do not get too much sun.
Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.

Be a good neighbor.
Check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning.

Do not forget your pets.
Make sure they have access to water, ventilation and shade.

NEVER LEAVE CHILDREN OR PETS IN A PARKED CAR!
The temperature can rise to 135 degrees in less than ten minutes, which can cause death to children or pets. If you see a child or pet left unattended in a parked car, you should call 9-1-1 and alert authorities.

What are the signs of heat related disorders?
SUNBURN:
Redness and pain. In severe cases swelling of skin, blisters, fever, headaches. *First Aid: Ointments for mild cases if blisters appear and do not break. If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by physician.

HEAT CRAMPS:
Painful spasms usually in muscles of legs and abdomen possible. Heavy sweating. *First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use.

HEAT EXHAUSTION:
Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Pulse thready, or in other words weak. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting. *First Aid: Get victim out of sun. Lie down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.

HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke):
High body temperature (106 degrees F. or higher). Hot dry skin. Rapid and strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness. *First Aid: HEAT STROKE IS A SEVERE MEDICAL EMERGENCY. SUMMON EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE OR GET THE VICTIM TO A HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY. DELAY CAN BE FATAL. Move the victim to a cooler environment. Reduce body temperature with cold bath or sponging. Use extreme caution. Remove clothing, use fans and air conditioners. If temperature rises again, repeat process. Do not give fluids. Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.

*For more information contact your local American Red Cross Chapter. Ask to enroll in a first aid course.
For more detailed Heat related information visit the following web sites.

http://www.weather.gov/om/heat/index.shtml

http://www.noaawatch.gov/themes/heat.php

http://www.epa.gov/heatisland/about/heatguidebook.html

Sorry, forgot to include this on my first e-mail. Looks like it is going to be abnormally hot the next two days along all of west central Florida with heat indexes forecast to reach or exceed 105F. 105F heat index is considered the point where the human body can no longer effectively evaporate heat through [read more...]

Rain to our west today, dry and hot this weekend

Heat conditions to persist through the weekend with little change to the forecast high temps. At this time we are still set achieve 95 to 97 degree high temps each day for the next 7 days. There is a small chance of rain for counties to our west, but unless you are planning on visiting [read more...]

Looks like a microburst occurred in Riverview yesterday as a very strong outflow boundary collided with another developing severe storm. I actually watched this as it occurred, for a brief moment it looked as if a brief tornado could have developed as there was a small compact area of rotation along the outflow boundary. Turns [read more...]

Jun 182009
Today's heat update...

Hot conditions to continue… the WFO in Fort Worth provided two handy graphics which I decided to upload regarding today’s forecast heat and precicely what Heat Index means. Coming from Florida we are all very familiar with this concept, but I will post anyways…

Looks like the SPC in Norman Oklahoma has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for a majority of the Florida peninsula. This will be mainly due to large hail and damaging straight line winds. Tornado threat is low, but still possible in areas with multiple strong boundary collisions . Mid-level lapse rates are very steep which [read more...]

Summer heat to persist for another 7 days

Looks like this summer style of heat is forecast to persist for the next 7 days at least. High temps will reach or exceed 95 degrees each day with a few days forecast to reach 97. High temps may exceed 100 degrees this upcoming Tuesday as well. This is all due to a persistant high [read more...]

The National Weather Service in Fort Worth put together a storm summary for the very active weather pattern from June 10 through June 14, including the Tornadoes in Denton County that prompted the warning for Frisco. I didn’t realize there was actually tornado damage reported in The Colony too, the only areas I heard of [read more...]

Just a brief reminder here… The National Weather Service office in Fort Worth sent out a brief statement regarding the heat this week. Forecast high temps are still forecast to reach 99 or 100 degrees each day. With dew points quite high already, this can push the heat index up to 110F easily each day, [read more...]

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