Heat Wave Warnings in 20 States; Tips on How to Avoid Heat Stroke

The persistent heat wave is proving relentless for many states as more warnings and advisories are being issued throughout the country. Twenty states have issued heat warnings or advisories and the heat dome that enveloped the southern and Midwestern states is making its way to the East Coast, according to forecasters.

"The large area of high pressure responsible for the heat will expand eastward by midweek, with temperatures reaching the mid-90s in the Mid-Atlantic states as early as Wednesday," the National Weather Service said. "Further out, this dome of high pressure is forecast to dominate most of the eastern and central U.S."

The National Weather Service states that heat index values as high as 131 degrees were reported yesterday and excessive heat watches, warnings and heat advisories are in effect today for a large portion of the central U.S. The heat can be blamed for 13 deaths this past week in the Midwest.

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Forecasters predict that nearly every state will have temperatures above 90 degrees this week. With the humidity factored in, it may feel like 100-110 degrees outside. New York City and Washington, D.C., can expect temperatures closer to 100. The heat is likely to continue into this weekend, for the NYC and D.C. area, and will most likely break sometime early next week. The average high in D.C. for the month of July is 88 degrees. The record high was in 1930 with a temperature of 106.

States that are still recovering from the flooding this spring are having a particularly harder time dealing with the heat. According to ABC, Texas' Lake Travis is losing two inches of water every day and is now six feet below normal levels. The levels are continuously dropping and the water is drying up across the state.

ABC reports that a Texas A&M University study determined that the state only averaged 4.26 inches of rain from February to June this year. The heat and lack of water is beginning to take its toll on the wildlife. This breaks a new record dry spell; the last extreme dry spell was in 1917, marking an average of 6.45 inches of rain.

The heat is particularly merciless on the poor and homeless people across the states. Many churches and volunteer organizations are opening their doors so that people may take refuge from the heat in air conditioned rooms with cold drinking water. The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center in Minneapolis is doing just that. Bill Miller, the director, told The Associated Press that it is far too dangerous to turn people away from the center on hot days.

"We don't have them leave when it's this hot. It's hot enough to get dehydrated, especially if you're drinking. In this heat, it could kill you.”

 The National Weather Service has issued tips on how to avoid heat strokes:

(1) Limit physical activity as much as possible
(2) Spend more time indoors in air conditioning and less time outside
(3) Drink plenty of water
(4) Eat light

Also, keep in mind the elderly and people more vulnerable to the heat. It’s a good idea to check on them regularly and make sure they are not experiencing any dizziness or fatigue that is often associated with a heat illness.

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