WeatherWeather Blog


Severe Weather Awareness Week: Protecting yourself in extreme heat

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Posted at 6:57 AM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 07:57:23-04

Extreme heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, killing hundreds of people each year. In Wisconsin, an average of five people die each summer due to the heat.

Extreme heat can cause heat-related illnesses. During extremely hot and humid weather, your body may be unable to cool itself or your body temperature may rapidly rise if you lose too much fluid or salt through sweating. It’s important to look out for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and to take the proper steps to help someone.

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The elderly, small children, people on medication, people with weight issues, or people with alcohol problems are most susceptible to heat-related stresses. It’s important to check on these people often to make sure they are staying cool during the extreme heat.

NEVER leave a child, pet, or people with disabilities in a vehicle during extreme heat.

Here’s how to beat the heat:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Reduce outdoor activity, especially in the afternoon
  • Wear loose and light-colored clothing
  • Spend your time indoors with air conditioning. If AC is not available, stay on the lowest floor, sit in a bathtub with cold water, or find a public cooling center.

Heat Advisory vs Excessive Heat Warning:

The National Weather Service will issue a Heat Advisory or Excessive Heat Warning when hot temperatures or hot and humid conditions are expected.


The NWS will issue a Heat Advisory when forecasted daytime heat indices are 100-104°, or when heat indices are 95-99° for four consecutive days.

When forecasted heat indices are 105°+ during the day or 75°+ during the night for at least two days, the NWS will issue an Excessive Heat Warning. If forecasted heat indices are 100-104° for more than four consecutive days, an Excessive Heat Warning will also be issued.

Major Wisconsin Heat Wave:

In the summer of 1995, 145 people died due to prolonged exposer to heat and humidity and 400 people reported heat-related illnesses. The 1995 summer heatwave is the number one weather-related killer in Wisconsin on record.

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