Summer Weather Hazards

Playing it Safe in the Ozarks

 


National Weather Service Lightning Safety
 Missouri State Emergency Management Agency
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services


This page includes important safety information that can save lives. Please help spread the word about Lightning, Flood, UV and Heat safety so we can have a safe summer.


 

 Lightning Safety

 

When you are outdoors enjoying the many recreational opportunities in the Ozarks, you should be especially alert for changing weather conditions and know what to do if thunder is heard or lightning is observed.

At any given moment, there are 1,800 thunderstorms in progress on Earth. This amounts to 16 million storms a year! In the U.S., there are ~25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes each year. While lightning can be fascinating to watch, it is also extremely dangerous.

In Missouri there have been 86 deaths attributed to lightning from 1959 - 2003, an average of 2 deaths per year. 

Link to larger poster

 

lightning picture

July 12, 2003 at Joplin Regional Airport

photo by John Hacker

Tragedies in school sponsored athletics are unfortunately a growing trend as well. When thunderstorms threaten, coaches and officials must not let the desire to start or finish an athletic activity or event cloud their judgment when the safety of participants and spectators is in jeopardy. 

 

Take a look at outdoor lightning safety rules to know what action to take when lightning is observed or thunder is heard.

 

Media Resources

 

Multimedia Resources

 


 Flood Safety

 

Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. Why? The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water.   Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive across a flooded road.  

Already this year in the Ozarks, there have been three fatalities and dozens of water rescues due to cars being swept away by flood waters.  

Turn Around Don't Drown logo

 

One of the primary flood hazards and causes of flood related deaths across the Ozarks is driving into low water crossings. Every year a few adventurous drivers attempt to cross flooded roads and fail. 


Whether you are driving or walking, if you come to a flooded road, Turn Around Don't DrownTM. You will not know the depth of the water nor the condition of the road under the water.

 

flooded car 1  flooded car 2

 

Water weighs 62.4 lbs. per cubic foot and typically flows downstream at 6 to 12 mph.  When a vehicle stalls in the water, the water's momentum is transferred to the car. For each foot the water rises, 500 lbs. of lateral force is applied to the automobile.

 

flooded car 3  flooded car 4

 

But the biggest factor is bouyancy. For each foot the water rises up the side of the car, the car displaces 1500 lbs. of water. In effect, the automobile weighs 1500 lbs. less for each foot the water rises.  Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles!!!

 

 


 UV Safety 

 
Outdoor recreational opportunities to enjoy the Summer sun abound in the Ozarks region. However, extended time in sun can be harmful.  Before heading to the lake, floating, or to the ball game, make sure to take proper precautions to protect your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays.   UV Index Logo

 

For much more UV information and UV forecast go to the following sites:

 

Environmental Protection Agency UV Information

 

NWS Ultraviolet Index Awareness 

 

Daily UV Index Contour Map

 

 

Exposure Category UV Index Protective Actions
Minimal 0, 1, 2 Apply skin protection factor (SPF) 15 sun screen.
Low 3, 4 SPF 15 & protective clothing (hat)
Moderate 5, 6 SPF 15, protective clothing, and UV-A&B sun glasses.
High 7, 8, 9 SPF 15, protective clothing, sun glasses and make attempts to avoid the sun between 10am to 4pm.
Very High 10+ SPF 15, protective clothing, sun glasses and avoid being in the sun between 10am to 4pm.

 

 

 UV Safety Tips

 

Limit Time in the Midday Sun Limit Time in the Midday Sun
The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whenever possible, limit exposure to the sun during these hours.

Seek Shade

Seek Shade
Shade is a good source of protection, but keep in mind that shade structures (e.g., trees, umbrellas, canopies) do not offer complete sun protection. Remember the shadow rule: Watch Your Shadow. No Shadow, Seek Shade!
Wear a Hat Wear a Hat
A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection to your eyes, ears, face, and the back of your neck - areas particularly prone to overexposure to the sun.
Cover Up Cover Up
Wearing tightly woven, loose-fitting, and full-length clothing is a good way to protect your skin from the sun's UV rays.
Wear Sunglasses that Block 99-100% of UV Radiation Wear Sunglasses that Block 99-100% of UV Radiation
Sunglasses that provide 99-100% UVA and UVB protection will greatly reduce sun exposure that can lead to cataracts and other eye damage. Check the label when buying sunglasses.
Always Use Sunscreen Always Use Sunscreen
Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 or higher liberally on exposed skin. Reapply every 2 hours, or after working, swimming, playing, or exercising outdoors. Even waterproof sunscreen can come off when you towel off, sweat, or spend extended periods of time in the water.
Avoid Sunlamps and Tanning Parlors Avoid Sunlamps and Tanning Parlors
The light source from sunbeds and sunlamps damages the skin and unprotected eyes. It's a good idea to avoid artificial sources of UV light.
Watch for the UV Index Watch for the UV Index
The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and EPA, the UV Index is issued daily in selected cities across the United States.

 

 


 Heat Safety

 

Summers get hot and humid here in the Ozarks. Although the Ozark Plateau prevents us from reaching temperatures as high as surrounding areas, summer heat can reach dangerous levels, especially when accompanied by humid conditions. This causes the apparent temperature to feel even hotter.

Go to our Heat Index forecast page for expected heat indices.

heat safety logo

Heat Safety 

 

Missouri Heat Related Deaths*

Year

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

1997

1996

1995

Deaths

12

24

47

23

92

12

9

7

57

 

Heat Index Chart

 

The combined effects of temperature and humidity can be measured using the Heat Index chart.

 

 

                    relative humidity %

t

e

m

p

e

r

a

t

u

r

e

 

F

 

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

85

90

108

130

137

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

106

124

130

137

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

104

119

124

131

137

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

102

114

119

124

130

137

 

 

 

 

 

 

100

109

114

119

124

129

136

 

 

 

 

 

98

106

109

113

117

123

128

134

 

 

 

 

96

101

104

108

112

116

121

126

132

 

 

 

94

97

100

102

106

110

114

119

124

129

135

 

92

94

96

99

101

105

108

112

116

121

126

131

90

91

93

95

97

100

103

106

109

113

117

122

88

88

89

91

93

95

98

100

103

106

110

113

86

86

87

88

89

91

93

95

97

100

102

105

Heat Index Chart

 

Heat Wave Safety Tips 

 

Heat Index & Related Heat Disorder

130

Heat stroke likely

105-130

Sunstroke, Heat Cramps or Heat Exhaustion likely

90-105

Sunstroke, Heat Cramps or Heat Exhaustion likely

 

Drink plenty of water or  nonalcoholic fluids.  Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on 

fluid restrictive diets, or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.  

 

Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.  Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.  

 

Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection. 

 

Don't get too much sun.  Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.

Slow down.  Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day.  Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.  

 

Dress for summer.  Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.  

Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.  

 

Do not drink alcoholic beverages.                       

          

Heat Disorder & Related Symptoms

Sunburn

Redness & pain. Swelling of skin, blisters, fever, headaches.

Heat Cramps

Painful spasms usually in muscle of legs and abdomen.

Heat Exhaustion

Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale & clammy. Fainting & vomiting.

Heat Stroke

High body temperature (>105) Hot dry skin. Rapid pulse. Possible unconsciousness.

 

 

Related Links

 

NWS Springfield Heat Index page:  http://www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/Briefing_Pages/heat_brief.php

 

NWS Heat Safety:  http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/heat/index.shtml           

 

Missouri Department of Health: http://www.health.state.mo.us

 

 

NWS Heat Related Products

 

To advise you of the potential of excessive heat, NWS Springfield will issue a:

 

Heat Advisory - Heat Index(HI) of 105 degrees for 3 hours and a minimum 24 hour HI in the middle 70s.

 

Excessive Heat Warning - HI of 105 degrees for 3 days and a minimum 24 hour HI in the middle 70s. Warnings are also issued for a HI of 115 for 3 hours.


Hazardous Weather Outlook - Daily at 6 AM and 1 PM to highlight the potential of any hazardous weather over the next few days.

 


 

 

 National Weather Hazard Statistics

 

 

 

hazard statistics

National Weather Hazards Statistics

Three of the biggest weather hazards that affect the United States typically occur during the summer months: Lightning, Flooding and Excessive Heat. Unfortunately, the Missouri Ozarks and southeast Kansas are no different. 



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