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How is the excessive heat warning different from a regular Southern Arizona day?

Posted: 5:25 PM, Jul 23, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-24 00:11:17Z
Excessive heat warning in Southern Arizona

An almost empty parking lot at Sabino Canyon as the area enters into an excessive heat warning. 

Amy May began her hike early Monday morning and says she felt the heat, "we were out of breath early, tired and hot quick."

So how is the excessive heat warning different from a regular day in Southern Arizona?

According to meteorologist, Cuyler Diggs the is reason is because of our dew points. 

Our dew points are higher right now and temperatures are exceeding 105 for several hours on consecutive days.  In June, it's not unusual to experience these temperatures but the big difference is the lack of humidity in June as opposed to July. Heat index isn't something we talk about too often in the desert. That's usually a factor for folks in the South, Midwest and East Coast.  However, when we have dew points in the 40s and 50s in Southern Arizona, heat index becomes a factor.  If conditions last long enough, an Excessive Heat Warning is issued.

Remember, we talk about humidity and dew point.  Two ways of measuring moisture content in our atmosphere.  But, dew point is key in our comfort factor.  If dew points are in the single digits and teens, it's a dry heat. But, when dew points climb above 40 degrees, and especially into the 50s & 60s, it becomes really muggy and sticky and heat exhaustion and illness can set in quickly. 

Across town at Santa Rita Park - the Salvation Army was handing out water to the homeless to make sure they stay hydrated. 

 

 

"This is just another way we are helping out the homeless community to stay alive this summer," says Corey Leith with the Salvation Army in Tucson.

On normal summer days the Salvation Army hands out about 15 cases of water but on days like today - it's an easy 20. 

"It's hot today it's hot tomorrow - hot in the shade as well so water, heat relief items will save a life."

Water location drop offs are at 1002 North Main Street or any Naughton's Plumbing locations.