Heat Wave

a major summer killer in Wisconsin

 

WISCONSIN FACTS...

EXTREME HEAT AND HUMIDITY ASSOCIATED WITH HEAT WAVES DIRECTLY KILL
148 PEOPLE A YEAR IN THE UNITED STATES...MAKING HEAT THE NUMBER-
ONE WEATHER KILLER IN THIS COUNTRY.  THIS NUMBER IS BASED ON
INFORMATION FROM THE CENTERS OF DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION /CDC/
FOR THE PERIOD OF 1988-2008.

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

SINCE 1982...AT LEAST 5 PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN WISCONSIN...ON AVERAGE
EACH YEAR...IN WHICH HEAT WAS THE DIRECT OR PRIMARY CAUSE. IN
ADDITION...EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT A SIMILAR NUMBER OF PEOPLE DIED
EACH YEAR IN WISCONSIN IN WHICH 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.  IN ADDITION...APPROXIMATELY 400 PEOPLE RECEIVED MEDICAL
TREATMENT DUE TO HEAT-RELATED CAUSES. 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.

HEAT WAVES DURING THE SUMMER OF 1999 CLAIMED 20 LIVES...12 OF
THEM DIRECTLY-RELATED TO THE HEAT. DURING THE SUMMER OF 2001...
15 PEOPLE DIED IN HEAT WAVES...10 OF THEM DIRECTLY-RELATED.

NWS KEEPS 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.

THE MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE WILL ISSUE AN
EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING WHEN IT EXPECTS THE DAYTIME HEAT INDEX VALUES
OF 105 OR HIGHER...WHILE NIGHTTIME HEAT INDEX VALUES EQUAL OR EXCEED 
75 DEGREES FOR ANY 48 HOUR PERIOD. 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 2001...

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

                                              HEAT    WINTER   COLD
YEAR    TORNADO   WINDS   FLOODS  LIGHTNING   WAVES   STORMS   WAVES
---------------------------------------------------------------------
1982       0        2        0        1        0/0      1        6
1983       0        0        0        0        0/0      0        1
1984      12        0        0        0        0/0      0        2
1985       4        1        0        3        0/0      0        4
1986       0        0        1        0        1/0      0        0
1987       0        1        0        0        0/0      0        0
1988       0        0        0        4        1/0      0        0
1989       0        1        0        0        0/0      0        0
1990       0        1        0        1        0/0      0        0
1991       1        1        0        1        0/0      2        0
1992       1        0        0        0        0/0      0        0
1993       0        1        1        1        2/0      0        0
1994       4        0        2        0        0/0      0        0
1995       0        0        0        2       82/72     0        3
1996       1        1        0        0        0/0      0       10
1997       2        3        0        3        1/0      0        1
1998       0        7        2        0        0/0      0        0
1999       0        2        0        1       13/8      1        0
2000       0        0        1        2        0/0      0        0
2001       2        0        0        1       10/5      0        0
2002       0        1        0        1        3/5      0        0
2003       0        0        0        0        0/4      0        0
2004       1        1        1        0        0/0      0        0
2005       1        1        0        0        0/0      0        0
2006       0        1        0        1        3/1      0        0
2007       0        0        0        1        0/0      0        0
2008       0        0        1        1        0/0      0        4
---------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS    29       25        9       24      116/95     4       31


THE CATEGORIES FOR WEATHER RELATED DEATHS ARE FURTHER DETAILED
BELOW...

WINDS - INCLUDE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WINDS...NON-THUNDERSTORM HIGH
WINDS.

FLOODS - INCLUDE FLASH FLOODS...FLOODS...RIVER FLOODS...SMALL STREAM
OR URBAN FLOODING.

WINTER STORMS - INCLUDE SNOW STORMS...BLIZZARDS...ICE STORMS.
---MOST DEATHS DUE TO VEHICLE ACCIDENTS ARE NOT DIRECTLY RELATED
DEATHS...CONSEQUENTLY...THEY ARE NOT COUNTED.---

HEAT WAVES - PERIODS OF EXCESSIVE HEAT AND HUMIDITY.

COLD WAVES - PERIODS OF EXTREME COLD.

DIRECTLY-RELATED DEATHS ARE THOSE IN WHICH THE WEATHER HAZARD WAS
THE PRIMARY CAUSE OF DEATH...

INDIRECTLY-RELATED DEATHS ARE THOSE IN WHICH THE WEATHER HAZARD WAS
A SECONDARY OR CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO THE CAUSE OF DEATH...

PRELIMINARY STATISTICS INDICATE THAT SOUTHERN WISCONSIN HAS
EXPERIENCED BETWEEN 10 TO 13 HEAT WAVES BETWEEN 1982 AND 2001...
EACH LASTING FROM 1 TO 10 DAYS. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF HEAT WAVE
DAYS IN SOUTHERN WISCONSIN DURING THIS PERIOD HAS TOTALED BETWEEN
36 TO 42 DAYS.

PRELIMINARY STATISTICS INDICATE THAT NORTHERN WISCONSIN HAS
EXPERIENCED BETWEEN 6 TO 8 HEAT WAVES BETWEEN 1982 AND 2001...
EACH LASTING FROM 1 TO 10 DAYS. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF HEAT WAVE DAYS
IN NORTHERN WISCONSIN DURING THIS PERIOD HAS TOTALED BETWEEN
20 TO 28 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

...Produced by Warning Coordination Meteorologist - Rusty Kapela, at the NWS Office at Milwaukee/Sullivan, Wisconsin


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