When temperatures begin to reach 100°, most of us find ways to cool off by heading to the pool or staying inside, but many people here in Texas work outdoors. Their work can be challenging for them in the heat and can often overwork themselves.
Jenn Daniel, Meteorologist from the National Weather Service Lubbock office explains, “Dry heat is dangerous just like any other type of heat. You are going to dehydrate and you could lead to a heat illness very, very rapidly. And signs of a heat illness, and you need to be very careful to watch out for these; you can start with heat cramps first, and you’ll start literally cramping in your calves, maybe your abdomen. And if you don’t listen to your body, you are going to go into heat exhaustion. You may be feeling faint or dizzy. You are going to have excessive sweating, you may feel nauseous and you maybe still have muscle cramps. And your heart may be pounding. And you really need to listen then because if you don’t you’re going to go into heat stroke. And by the time you have a heat stroke, this is where you could die from heat. Throbbing headache, and once you get to heat stroke, you’re no longer sweating. Your body cannot sweat at that point. You may lose consciousness. If you notice somebody with heat stroke you need to call 911 immediately.”
When dangerous heat is in the forecast, the folks at the National Weather Service will issue some type of alert, letting you know where the hottest of air is.
Daniel further explains, “well, extreme heat on the South Plains is a little different depending on where you live. If you are on the Caprock extreme heat is going to be, it’s a little odd, but a little bit cooler. We issue a heat advisory for the Caprock when the temperature is going to be 105 degrees (temperature or heat index at or greater than 105). And we’ll issue a heat advisory off the Caprock, so say Childress or Paducah and Aspermont for a temperature or heat index will be greater than or equal to 110 degrees. Now, an excessive heat warning, which we don’t issue those very often out here, sometimes we are forced to issue those, on the Caprock that means that temperatures are getting to 110 degrees or more. And if you live off the Caprock temperatures are getting to 115 degrees or more.”