Red and Blue States – Not What You’d Expect This Time

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Are you following the main national weather story today — the heat? If you’re watching the mainstream media, perhaps you were unaware so much of the country is experiencing such brutal conditions (and let’s not forget the ongoing and extreme drought in Texas and the South) as they focus on the Northeast, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. This is why ImpactWeather is in business. We know that if you rely on the media for your weather information you may get a biased and likely incomplete weather picture. But I digress and I’m getting sidetracked. Let’s move on to what you can do to help protect yourself in these extreme conditions.

While traveling by motorcycle in New Hampshire a couple of weeks ago, I was wearing almost everything I had. Of course, on a motorcycle you don’t typically have room for a parka — especially in June! — but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about it. In fact, I had on a t-shirt plus a long-sleeve thermal shirt, a light sweatshirt and a fleece vest as the higher elevations were producing temperatures in the lower 50s with rain. Actually, I loved it. It was such a pleasant change of pace that for a couple of days it was wonderful. I thought of my Houston friends back home dealing with highs near 100F and I couldn’t help but smirk. However, it’s the heat that’s on so much of the country’s mind today — like it was yesterday, and as it will be tomorrow and Friday.

Red and Blue states - this time it's red for "hot" and blue for "cold." No surprise it's stinkin' hot in Texas - which means it's just another Wednesday in July. Image: NOAA

Of course, it’s mid-July and everybody expects it to be warm. But not like this! Temperatures more common-place in Texas are spreading as far north as Canada. Though you can read about the “hot forecast” on many sources from The Weather Channel to CNN, ImpactWeather and YourWeatherBlog would like to take this opportunity to remind you to take care of yourself in this oppressive heat. We’ve written about this before, but it’s the perfect opportunity to run it again. After all, you don’t have to look far to find deaths and hospitalizations from dehydration and other heat-related conditions such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion — despite the repeated warnings.

This image from NOAA shows the extent of the excessive heat. Image: NOAA

  • During the hottest hours of the day, stay inside. If possible stay inside an air-conditioned building. The hottest hours of the day are typically from mid morning to mid afternoon.
  • Dress lightly and when sleeping use lightweight breathable covers.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
  • People who live in homes with no air conditioning should keep blinds closed from morning until the late afternoon to block extra direct heat from sunlight. Also, stay on the lowest level of your home.
  • Use a fan. Don’t place the fan directly in front of a window because it may push hot air in. Try placing the fan so that it blows in the room and out the window instead.
  • Do not leave any person or any pet in the car while you run to do a quick errand. Car interiors overheat quickly and become like ovens. People can succumb to heat exposure and death very quickly in a hot car.

Related topics: Pool and beach safety, plus skin protection. The heat brings on additional time spent at the pool and the beach, as well as water parks. Please refresh yourself on pool and beach safety. And skin protection is a subject that’s especially close to me as I’ve had four pre-cancerous and one cancerous spot removed from my face. The experts recommend proper and frequent application of at least an SPF30, so who am I to argue? I use an SPF55 daily and reapply regularly when in the sun. For skin protection tips and information just click here and here.

The drought continues in the South. In Texas, there are burn bans in effect statewide for all but seven counties (that means there is a burn ban in effect for a whopping 247 Texas counties). Image: NOAA

And if you think it’s hot here, you can always thank your lucky stars you’re not in Libya. Or, if you’d like to remind yourself about what it’s like on the other side of the calendar click here and here for a few YWB posts from a few months ago.

It took 16 stitches (10 on the surface, six below) to remove a basal cell carcinoma* from my forehead. It hurt, but it healed nicely and I've been using sunblock every day since. Photo: Dave Gorham

* Basal Cell Carcinoma.














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