July 21, 2011

Officials Warn of Heat Dangers in Scotland County

A hot week is in full swing throughout the state of Missouri. The National Weather Service (NWS) announced Monday that temperatures in the 90's with high humidity levels will create afternoon and early evening heat index values of up to 115 throughout the week.

"This will likely be the most significant heat wave the region has experienced in at least the last five years," the NWS warned.

NWS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the American Red Cross suggest the following tips for staying safe during heat waves: Slow down and reduce strenuous activities, dress in lightweight and light-colored clothing, wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and spend time in air conditioned places.

The Scotland County Senior Center serves as the area's state issued cooling station and has been opened to the public.

Locally, some residents took to the pool to beat the heat. 11-year-old Memphis resident Emily Hilpert and her 7-year-old sister Katie were some of the many swimmers this week and noted the crowd was larger than some previous times this year.

The sisters arrived at the pool at 1 p.m. and hung out in a shaded area during breaks. "It's hot," said Hilpert. She noted that the pool offered a great place to cool off. "We like going down the slide and swimming."

City Hall stated that the pool has averaged 84 swimmers per day this summer. 112 jumped in on Monday.

Heat strokes, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion are all potential disorders that could occur in residents over-exposed to the severe temperatures. Elderly, young children, and those with chronic health problems or disabilities are especially vulnerable to the effects of heat and should be checked on regularly.

According to the Center for Disease Control, an average of 350 people die each year due to the effects of heat. While heat related illnesses and death can occur with exposure to high temperatures in just one afternoon, heat stress on the body does have a cumulative effect so caution should be practiced at all times.

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