A record-breaking heatwave is sweeping across Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas, causing temperatures to reach triple digits and leaving tens of thousands of people without power and air conditioning. The heatwave has lasted for three weeks and shows no signs of dissipating soon. This article will discuss the heatwave’s impact on the US South and offer tips for staying safe in extreme heat.
The Impact of the Heatwave
The heatwave has caused temperatures to reach unprecedented levels in Texas, with Corpus Christi hitting 125F (51C), Rio Grande Village notching 118F (47C), and Del Rio marking 115F (46C). The National Weather Service predicts that temperatures will continue to rise and last into the week of 4 July. More than 40 million people in the US are under a heat alert, and emergency crews in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, region have responded to a record number of calls due to the heat and lack of power.
The heatwave follows a weekend of destructive storms that left hundreds of thousands of people without power, exacerbating the risk of heat-related illnesses. Unrelenting heat presents particular health and safety risks to older adults, young children, pregnant women, people with chronic conditions, and outdoor workers. People of color and low-income residents bear a higher burden from heat, whether because of their occupation or living in close proximity to heat-exacerbating industries and heat-trapping highways.
Tips for Staying Safe in Extreme Heat
If you live in an area affected by the heatwave, it’s important to take steps to stay safe and cool. Here are some tips:
- Stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- If you must go outside, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing and a hat to protect your head and neck from the sun.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary drinks, which can dehydrate you.
- Use air conditioning or fans to stay cool. If you don’t have air conditioning, go to a public place that does, such as a library, mall, or community center.
- Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
- Check on elderly or vulnerable neighbors who may be at risk of heat-related illnesses.
- Don’t leave children or pets in parked cars, even for a short time, as temperatures can rise to dangerous levels quickly.
The record-breaking heatwave in Texas and other US states is causing temperatures to reach dangerous levels, putting thousands of people at risk of heat-related illnesses. As the planet continues to warm due to human-caused climate change, heat waves like these will become more common. It’s essential to take steps to stay safe and cool during extreme heat, especially for vulnerable communities. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can protect yourself and others from the dangers of extreme heat.