The Protect IU Blog
It Is the Heat and the Humidity
For the last few months, IUEMC has been sharing information about warm weather storms with winds, lightning, hail, and tornadoes. And we've had quite a few of them. As of today, May 31, the National Weather Service has counted 48 tornado reports for Indiana in 2011. Compared to other states, we've been quite lucky this year.
But as we move from May to June, the greatest weather danger in Indiana is already being felt. It's not warm weather storms that kill the most Hoosiers, it is warm -- or more accurately hot -- weather itself that kills the most.Across the nation, heat kills an average of 162 people every year. In a 1995 heat wave, more than 700 deaths in Chicago alone were attributed to heat.
But every year it gets hot, so the gut instinct is to say, "Well, it's hot, so what?" Heat is something to take seriously. It isn't something that shows up on radar that will hit in the next 30 minutes, it's just there, all around us. We're not going to activate IU-Notify at 2am to wake you up and let you know how hot it will be, but we will update our Facebook and Twitter followers when dangerous heat exists.
We want you to stay as safe as you can this summer, and there is a lot we could say about heat and why too much is dangerous, but let's refer to some experts. The National Weather Service has information on how heat is dangerous, examples of deadly heat related events, and how they forecast and report the danger of hot weather. Also, if it's dangerously hot, but you still have to get stuff done outside, check out IUPUI Environmental Health and Safety's look at Heat Stress Prevention, a valuable resource on how to stay safe in the heat and what exactly happens when you are exposed to extreme heat for too long without precautions.
The most basic advice is that if it is hot, get cool. If you have to be in the heat, hydrate with water -- caffeinated drinks and alcohol can cause you to lose fluid. And don't stay in the heat for too long. Take breaks, no matter how important the task at hand is.
We still haven't forgotten about the storms, or all the other dangers the IU community could face. We'll let you know about dangers as they happen. There will still be storms throughout the summer -- just hopefully not as severe as what we've seen so far. But don't forget about the less violent dangers out there.