HEAT WAVE

- a major summer killer in Wisconsin

WISCONSIN FACTS...

HEAT IS THE NUMBER-ONE WEATHER KILLER IN THIS COUNTRY. EXTREME HEAT AND
HUMIDITY ASSOCIATED WITH HEAT WAVES DIRECTLY KILLED ON AVERAGE AT LEAST
146 PEOPLE A YEAR IN THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PERIOD OF 1988-2012.
THESE NUMBERS ARE BASED ON INFORMATION FROM THE CENTERS OF
DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION /CDC/.

Heat Wave Deaths image of heat wave days
Heat Wave Days
image of heat wave events
Heat Wave Events

ALTHOUGH MOSTLY KNOWN FOR ITS COLD AND SNOWY WINTERS...WISCONSIN IS
NOT IMMUNE FROM THE TRAGEDIES CAUSED BY HEAT WAVES.

SINCE 1982...HEAT WAVES HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE DEATHS
(DIRECT/INDIRECT) WISCONSIN (240) THAN ALL OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS COMBINED.

FOR THE PERIOD OF 1982-2012...AT LEAST 137 PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN
WISCONSIN...IN WHICH HEAT WAS THE DIRECT OR PRIMARY CAUSE. THIS
COMES OUT TO AN AVERAGE OF ABOUT 4 PER YEAR. FOR THE SAME PERIOD OF
TIME...AT LEAST 103 PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN WISCONSIN WHEN HEAT WAS AN
INDIRECT...OR SECONDARY CAUSE.

IN THE SUMMER OF 1995...SEVERAL HEAT WAVES AFFECTED MOST OF
WISCONSIN...AND RESULTED IN 154 FATALITIES...82 DIRECT AND 72
INDIRECT. THE HEAT WAVES OCCURRED FROM LATE JUNE THROUGH MID
AUGUST. IN ADDITION...APPROXIMATELY 400 PEOPLE RECEIVED MEDICAL
TREATMENT DUE TO HEAT-RELATED CAUSES.

THE 4-DAY HEAT WAVE OF JULY 17-21, 2011 CLAIMED 5 LIVES IN WISCONSIN
WHEN APPARENT TEMPERATURES PEAKED IN THE 110-117 RANGE. AT LEAST
108 PEOPLE WERE HOPITALIZED.

THE 1995 SUMMER HEAT WAVES HOLD THE RECORD AS THE NUMBER ONE WEATHER-
RELATED KILLER IN WISCONSIN SINCE IT BECAME A STATE IN 1848. MOST
DEATHS OCCURRED IN THE MAJOR URBAN CITIES IN SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN. AS
IN EVERY STATE HIT BY THE HEAT WAVE THAT YEAR...THE ELDERLY AND YOUNG
AGE GROUPS WERE HIT THE HARDEST.

NWS HEAT WAVE PROGRAM
KEEPING AN EYE ON THE HEAT INDEX

WITH THESE TRAGIC DEATH TOLLS THE WEATHER SERVICE HAS FOUND WAYS TO
EFFECTIVELY WARN THE PUBLIC OF THE COMBINED DANGERS OF HEAT AND
HUMIDITY ASSOCIATED WITH HEAT WAVES. THE WEATHER SERVICE USES THE
HEAT INDEX /HI/ AS AN ESTIMATE OF HOW HOT IT REALLY FEELS WHEN THE
RELATIVE HUMIDITY IS ADDED TO THE ACTUAL AIR TEMPERATURE.

yellow ballOutlook Statement... issued 2 to 7 days in advance of when Heat Advisory or Excessive Heat Warning conditions are anticipated. Issued as a Hazardous Weather Statement.
yellow ballHEAT ADVISORY... Issued 6 to 36 hours in advance when daytime heat index (HI) values are expected to be 100oF or more, or 95-99oF for 4 or more consecutive days.
yellow ballEXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH... Issued 12 to 48 hours in advance of expected Excessive Heat Warning conditions.
red ballEXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING... Issued 6 to 36 hours in advance of any 48-hour period in which daytime heat index (HI) values will equal or exceed 105oF, and night time HI's will equal or exceed 75oF.

If Heat Advisory conditions (HI of 100 to 104oF) (are expected to persist for four or more days, then an Excessive Heat Warning will be issued.

THE MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN NWS OFFICE SERVICES 20 COUNTIES IN SOUTH-CENTRAL
AND SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN.

REMEMBER THAT IF HEAT INDEX VALUES EXCEED 105 DEGREES...SUN-STROKE...
HEAT CRAMPS OR HEAT EXHAUSTION IS LIKELY WITH PROLONGED EXPOSURE
AND/OR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.

HELP EACH OTHER...

KEEP IN MIND THAT ELDERLY PERSONS...SMALL CHILDREN...PEOPLE ON
MEDICATION AND PERSONS WITH WEIGHT OR ALCOHOL PROBLEMS ARE ESPECIALLY
SUSCEPTIBLE TO HEAT. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE DURING A HEAT WAVE
WHERE A MODERATE CLIMATE PREVAILS SUCH AS WISCONSIN. IT IS A GOOD
IDEA TO PERIODICALLY CHECK IN WITH THE ELDERLY AND OTHERS SUSCEPTIBLE
AND HELP THEM OBTAIN RELIEF FROM THE OPPRESSIVE HEAT AND HUMIDITY.

WHAT YOU CAN DO...SLOW DOWN AND REDUCE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
ESPECIALLY DURING THE HOTTEST PARTS OF THE DAY. DRESS FOR SUMMER...
WEAR LIGHTWEIGHT...LIGHT-COLORED CLOTHING. DO NOT GET TOO MUCH
SUN..IT MAKES IT EVEN HARDER FOR YOUR SKIN TO COOL YOU OFF. DRINK
PLENTY OF WATER AND STAY AWAY FROM ALL ALCOHOLIC DRINKS...WHICH WILL
MAKE THE HEAT/S EFFECT ON YOUR BODY EVEN WORSE.

SPEND YOUR TIME INDOORS. IF AIR CONDITIONING IS NOT AVAILABLE...STAY
ON THE LOWEST FLOOR OUT OF THE SUNSHINE. YOU CAN ALSO TRY TO GO TO
A PUBLIC BUILDING WHERE AIR CONDITIONING IS AVAILABLE OR TAKE A
BATH OR SHOWER WITH COOL WATER.

IF A PERSON COLLAPSES DUE TO THE EFFECTS OF HEAT...COOL THEM DOWN
IMMEDIATELY WITH A GARDEN HOSE...OR APPLY TOWELS SOAKED WITH COOL
WATER. IF THEY ARE STILL CONSCIOUS...GIVE THEM WATER TO DRINK. OF
COURSE...YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CONTACT 911 AND REQUEST MEDICAL
ATTENTION.

AS WITH ANY SEVERE WEATHER STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR YOUR
LOCAL TV OR RADIO STATIONS FOR THE LATEST FORECAST AND HEAT INDEX
VALUES.

SYMPTOMS OF HEAT RELATED ILLINESS AND WHAT TO DO...

HERE ARE SOME SYMPTIONS OF HEAT-RELATED ILLINESS AND WHAT TO DO...


---HEAT CRAMPS.......CRAMPS OR MUSCLE SPASMS IN THE ABDOMEN...ARMS OR
LEGS.
---SOLUTION..........STOP ACTIVITY...COOL DOWN...DRINK PLAIN WATER...
CLEAR JUICE...OR A SPORTS DRINK.



---HEAT EXHAUSTION...HEAVY SWEATING...PALENESS...MUSCLE CRAMPS...
WEAKNESS...DIZZINESS...HEADACHE...NAUSEA...OR
FAINTING.
---SOLUTION..........COOL DOWN...SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IF PERSON
HAS HEART PROBLEMS OR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.



---HEAT STROKE.......EXTREMELY HIGH BODY TEMPERATURE...RED HOT DRY
SKIN...RAPID PULSE...THROBBING HEADACHE...
DIZZINESS...NAUSEA...CONFUSION...
UNCONSCIOUSNESS.
---SOLUTION..........CALL 911 AND COOL VICTUM WITH SHOWER OR HOSE
UNTIL HELP ARRIVES.



HOW TO STAY COOL.....IF POSSIBLE...SPEND TIME IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED
ENVIRONMENT. IF NOT...BASEMENTS ARE OFTEN
SEVERAL DEGREES COOLER. COVER WINDOWS TO
PREVENT DIRECT SUNLIGHT FROM ENTERING. USE FANS
TO BLOW HOT AIR OUTSIDE IF OVER 95 DEGREES IN
THE ROOM.

MINIMIZE THE EFFECTS OF HEAT...

---SLOW DOWN AND REDUCE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. IF POSSIBLE...DO YOUR
ACTIVITIES IN THE EARLY MORNING OR EVENING.

---DRINK PLENTY OF WATER...STAY AWAY FROM ALCOHOLIC...CARBONATED...
OR CAFFINE-TYPE DRINKS.

---STAY OUT OF THE DIRECT RAYS OF THE SUN...THIS CAN ADD 15 DEGREES
TO THE APPARENT TEMPERATURE...BETTER KNOWN AS THE HEAT INDEX...A
TERM METEOROLOGISTS USE TO DESCRIBE THE COMBINED EFFECTS OF HEAT
AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY.

---TAKING A COOL BATH OR SHOWER WILL COOL YOUR BODY DOWN 25 TIMES
FASTER THAN JUST SITTING IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM.

---STAY AWAY FROM STRONG HOT WINDS...A HOT WIND JUST ADDS MORE HEAT
TO THE HUMAN BODY...SIMILAR TO A HOT-AIR BLAST FURNACE.

---WEAR LIGHT-WEIGHT...AND LIGHT-COLORED CLOTHING...LIMITED TO ONE
LAYER OF ABSORBENT FABRIC TO FACILITATE THE EVAPORATION OF SWEAT.
IF CLOTHES BECOME WET...THEY SHOULD BE CHANGED FOR DRY ONES.

---USE A GOOD SUNSCREEN...AND WEAR A WIDE-BRIMMED HAT. A SUNBURN
REDUCES THE SKIN/S ABILITY TO PROVIDE COOLING.

---INSIDE...KEEP SHADES DRAWN AND BLINDS CLOSED. KEEP LIGHTS ON LOW
OR TURNED OFF.

---EAT FREQUENT...SMALL MEALS. AVOID HIGH-PROTEIN FOODS WHICH
INCREASE METABOLIC HEAT.

---AVOID USING SALT TABLETS...UNLESS DIRECTED TO DO SO BY A
PHYSICIAN.

---ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO BEAT THE HEAT IS TO SPEND TIME IN AN AIR-
CONDITIONED ROOM. EVEN JUST 2 HOURS PER DAY IN AIR-CONDITIONING
CAN SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE THE RISK OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS.

---IF YOU HAVE AIR-CONDITIONING...USE IT. IS IT WORTH YOUR LIFE
JUST TO SAVE A FEW DOLLARS ON YOUR ELECTRICITY BILL?

---SEE IF YOUR COMMUNITY OFFERS SCHOOLS...LIBRARIES...PARK
BUILDINGS...SHELTERS...OR OTHER PLACES TO SEEK REFUGE FROM THE
HEAT. PLAN TO SPEND TIME AT A SHOPPING MALL....OR WITH FRIENDS OR
RELATIVES THAT HAVE AIR-CONDITIONING.

---PEOPLE WITH BLOOD CIRCULATION PROBLEMS OR OTHER CHRONIC PROBLEMS
REQUIRING REGULAR USE OF MEDICATIONS SHOULD CHECK WITH THEIR
PHYSICIAN TO DISCUSS HOW TO HANDLE THE HOT WEATHER. CERTAIN
MEDICATIONS REDUCE THE BODY/S ABILITY TO SWEAT...THUS MAKING IT
DIFFICULT TO COOL DOWN. EVEN SOME OVER-THE COUNTER MEDICATIONS
FOR HAY FEVER REDUCE THE BODY/S ABILITY TO SWEAT.

WEATHER RELATED FATALITIES...

TABULATED BELOW ARE THE DIRECT WEATHER RELATED FATALITIES IN
WISCONSIN FROM 1982 TO 2012...

...IN THE HEAT WAVE COLUMN...THE SECOND NUMBER INDICATES THE NUMBER
OF INDIRECT HEAT RELATED DEATHS.

Year Tornado Wind Hail Flooding Lightning Heat
Waves
Winter
Storms
Cold
Waves
1982 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 6
1983 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
1984 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
1985 4 1 0 0 3 0 0 4
1986 0 1 0 1 0 1/0 0 0
1987 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
1988 0 0 0 0 3 1/0 0 0
1989 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
1990 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
1991 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 0
1992 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1993 0 0 0 1 1 2 0 0
1994 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1995 0 0 0 0 2 82/72 0 3
1996 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 10
1997 0 2 0 0 2 1/0 0 1
1998 0 7 0 2 0 0 0 0
1999 0 2 0 0 1 13/8 1 0
2000 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0
2001 2 0 0 0 1 10/5 0 0
2002 0 1 0 0 1 3/5 0 0
2003 0 0 0 0 1 0/4 0 0
2004 1 1 0 1 0 0/0 0 0
2005 1 1 0 0 0 0/0 0 0
2006 0 1 0 0 2 3/1 0 0
2007 0 0 0 0 1 0/0 0 0
2008 0 0 0 1 0 0/0 0 4
2009 0 0 0 0 1 0/0 0 6
2010 0 1 0 1 0 0/0 1 1
2011 1 1 0 1 1 5/0 1 0
2012 0 3 0 0 0 16/8 0 0
Total 28 29 0 25 137/103 38

***Note...deaths listed above are “direct” deaths, in which the weather hazard is the major cause of death. However, for heat waves, the heat and humidity are sometimes labeled as “secondary” or “contributing” causes of death. These are indirect deaths, which if shown, is the second number in the heat wave column.  Likewise, nearly all deaths attributed to vehicle deaths on highways in Winter Storms are “indirect” deaths, since the driver was driving too fast for the conditions, etc.  In other words, the snow or ice did not kill the individual; the death was the result of a vehicle accident.

Winds = severe thunderstorm winds, non-thunderstorm high winds

Floods = flash floods, floods, river floods, small/stream or urban flooding

Winter Storms = snowstorms, blizzards, ice storms (most deaths due to vehicle accidents are not directly related deaths, consequently, they are not counted)

Heat Wave
= periods of excessive heat and humidity

Cold Wave = periods of extreme cold

Hail = events when hail diameter was =>1 inch

Fog = events where visibility was <= ¼ mile

PRELIMINARY STATISTICS INDICATE THAT WEST CENTRAL THROUGH SOUTHEAST
WISCONSIN HAVE EXPERIENCED BETWEEN 15 TO 25 HEAT WAVES BETWEEN 1982
AND 2012...EACH LASTING FROM 1 TO 10 DAYS. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF HEAT WAVE 
DAYS IN SOUTHERN WISCONSIN DURING THIS PERIOD HAS TOTALED BETWEEN
50 TO 75 DAYS.

PRELIMINARY STATISTICS INDICATE THAT NORTHERN WISCONSIN HAS
EXPERIENCED BETWEEN 7 TO 14 HEAT WAVES BETWEEN 1982 AND 2012...
EACH LASTING FROM 1 TO 10 DAYS. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF HEAT WAVE DAYS
IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN DURING THIS PERIOD HAS TOTALED BETWEEN
24 TO 40 DAYS.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HEAT WAVES CHECK OUT THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE WEB SITE ON HEAT WAVES...
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml

Kapela, NWSMilwaukee/Sullivan


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