TUCSON, Ariz. — Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect for most of southern Arizona and will remain in effect through Monday evening. In Tucson, we'll see high temperatures approaching 115 degrees by Sunday. West of Tucson, we could see highs approaching 120 degrees!
Keep in mind, the all-time hottest July temperature ever recorded in Tucson was 114 degrees on July 4, 1989. That record could easily be tied or broken this weekend.
This is a time to think about heat safety and take it seriously over the next few days. According to the National Weather Service, heat kills more people in the United States than any other weather phenomenon. Over the past 30 years, heat has claimed an average of 138 lives per year.
Flooding comes in second place and claims an average of 88 lives per year. Tornadoes rank third on the list with an average of 68 lives lost every year.
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are big concerns when temperatures climb, especially when humidity is a little higher. Our dew points will be in the lower 50s over the weekend, so the onset of heat-related illness could be a little bit quicker. The best thing to do is plan to stay in the air conditioning. However, not all of us are able to do that and we need to think about a few things to stay safe in the extreme heat!
- Try to accomplish outdoor activities early in the morning or in the evening. When outside, try to work in the shade as much as possible and take frequent breaks.
- Proper hydration is the key to avoiding heat-related illness. Our bodies are roughly 60% water and it's tough to keep hydrated when temperatures are so hot. The Arizona Department of Health Services recommends drinking 32 ounces of water every hour if you're outside during the heat of the day. If you're exerting yourself physically, you'll likely have to increase your fluid intake. Water is best, but mixing in some sports drinks is also a good idea. Just be sure to watch the sugar intake and avoid alcohol.
- Be aware of symptoms that indicate the onset of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms include feeling a little faint or dizzy, excessive sweating, nausea and muscle cramps. Heatstroke is critical and includes throbbing headache, no sweating, elevated body temperature, nausea, rapid pulse and disorientation. If these symptoms appear, call 9-1-1 immediately!
- Also remember your pets and children. Never leave them alone in a parked car or any other enclosed area without adequate air conditioning. Don't walk your pets or allow your children to play outside in the heat of the day. Even if going to the swimming pool in your backyard, make sure to wear something to protect your feet from the scalding hot surfaces around the pool.
- Wear light-colored, lightweight clothing with a hat and sunglasses. Don't forget the sunscreen!
Hopefully these tips will help you and your family avoid heat-related illnesses this weekend. Bottom line, play it safe this weekend and don't become a victim. Most outdoor activities or projects can wait until temperatures cool down. This would be a good time to stay inside and catch a movie, do some indoor chores and relax. Monsoon will eventually arrive and give us all the relief we've been anticipating.
Be safe and stay cool!