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'Heat Wave' warnings in place through Thursday

Public Health - Seattle & King County and the National Weather Service have issued warnings for this weekend
Public Health - Seattle & King County and the National Weather Service have issued warnings for this weekend's 'Heat Wave'.
— image credit: Image courtesy of Public Health - Seattle & King County

The National Weather Service - Seattle (NWS) and Public Health - Seattle & King County have each issued heat advisories for an unusually long period of hot weather this week.

Forecasters are predicting "the hottest weather of the year" with unbroken sunshine and temperatures reaching the mid-90s until at least Friday. Balmy temperatures at night are also expected to remain warmer than normal, expected to drop only into the mid-60s.

Unlike previous hot spells so far this summer, NWS warns high temperatures could affect areas usually moderated by cooling breezes along the coast and other places near the water.

Public health officials warn that high temperatures could cause heat stroke to vulnerable older adults, young children, and people with mental illness. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

“The danger for heat–related illnesses rises when outside temperatures are very high,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County.

In addition, the dry summer weather has also raised the risk of fire in wooded areas and air pollution may increase due to stagnant air, posing a danger to residents who have an existing respiratory condition.

“Fortunately, all of us can prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke with some simple steps,” Fleming said.

The City of Mercer Island reacted to the warnings by issuing their own advisory, encouraging residents to use the air-conditioned Mercer Island Community Center to stay cool. The center is open 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and shorter hours over the weekend.

According to King 5's SchoolNet weather service, as of 10 a.m. Tuesday the Islander Middle School and St. Monica School weather stations were measuring highs in the mid-80's.

Health officials advise staying cool and following these recommendations during the hot weather:

  • Spend more time in air-conditioned places. If you don’t have air conditioning, visit a mall, movie theater or other cool public places.
  • Dress in lightweight clothing.
  • Limit your direct exposure to the sun.
  • Never leave infants, children, people with mobility challenges or pets in a parked car, even with the windows rolled down.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun.
  • Do not take salt tablets unless directed to by a physician.
  • Check with your physician if you are concerned about heat and the specific medications you are taking. Certain medications may increase sensitivity to the heat.
  • Check up on your elderly neighbors or relatives, especially those people at greatest risk.

Drink liquids:

  • Drink more water or non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages.
  • Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink.

If you go outside:

  • Avoid or reduce strenuous activity outdoors.
  • Limit activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Avoid sunburn. Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.

Watch for symptoms of overheating:

  • Symptoms of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting. If symptoms appear, move to a cooler location, rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better.
  • Symptoms of heat stroke include an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F), red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating), rapid and strong pulse, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness. Get immediate emergency help by calling 9-1-1.

For more tips and resources on staying cool in hot weather, visit Public Health - Seattle & King County Web site.

More information on this week's weather forecast can also be found at MI-Reporter.com's weather page, where you can search forecasts for other areas around the Puget Sound by area code or city name.

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