Heat Wave

Memorial Day Weekend kicked off the summer season and reintroduced us to the kind of wicked heat that’s typically seen during the summer months.

Record temperatures were threatened across the Eastern United States this past weekend, which ended in a hot and sticky holiday weekend – the kind of weather that makes it hard to enjoy being outdoors, unless you’re jumping in the pool.

Typically, highs for this time of year average in the upper 70s, but highs on Saturday, Sunday and Monday rose to the lower- to mid-90s. For those who don’t have air conditioning or who haven’t bothered to put theirs in the window yet, the weekend likely made them wish they had.

While most people love getting outside this time of year and can appreciate a rain-free holiday weekend, a heat wave can be dangerous or even deadly to many people.

Folks who work outdoors will be the first to tell you how unpleasant a heat wave can be. Extremely high temperatures and high humidity can be dangerous to young children and seniors alike, as well as people with health concerns, those taking medications or pregnant women, health officials warn.

Holiday weekends like Memorial Day bring family gatherings, cookouts and other outdoor events, but alcohol consumption that many times accompanies these festivities can be a bad mix with intense heat. Everyone is encouraged to drink plenty of water to keep themselves hydrated, and beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol actually increase the risk for dehydration.

During periods of extreme heat, folks need to take precautions to protect themselves and their family members – including the four-legged family members. Pet owners should consider bringing their pets indoors or at least offer them a space with sufficient shade and plenty of water.

The heat is expected to roll out of the area later today, and more typical temperatures or the end of May are expected to return for the next several days. But this past weekend gave us a reminder of what we can look forward to in the coming months for the summer of 2012. When the temperatures skyrocket once again, we hope everyone will be prepared.