According to the National Weather Service and the National Climactic Data Center, the Cartersville Airport recorded only its fifth day this year at or above 90 degrees on Wednesday with a high of 93.
The National Weather Service is forecasting more warm weather with a high of 92 today and 90 on Saturday. Combined with high relative humidity, summer heat can lead to dangerous conditions. With high relative humidity at 95 percent, the NWS heat index can reach “extremely dangerous” levels at 90 degrees and at 92 degrees requires only 85 percent relative humidity to reach a heat index in excess of 120 degrees.
“Each year heat causes about 650 preventable deaths in the United States, with 7,233 heat-related deaths reported from 1999–2009,” states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov. “The elderly, children, the poor, or those with pre-existing medical conditions are at increased risk. In 2012, an extreme heat event in Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia resulted in 32 deaths. Most of these deaths occurred among older people who were unmarried or lived alone. Almost 70 percent died at home, most without air conditioning.
“It is important to remember that heat can kill. Individuals can prevent excessive heat exposure by staying cool, hydrated, and informed about extreme heat events and warning signs for heat-related illness. Exposure to heat can kill. To prevent deaths from heat, stay cool, stay hydrated and stay informed.”
Just as the combination of high temperature and high humidity can pose a threat to humans, it can do the same for animals. A perennial problem is the threat to an animal’s health when left inside a hot vehicle. Etowah Valley Humane Society Executive Director Bryan Canty urges all pet owners to be considerate of the heat this summer.
“Temperatures in a still car can reach 140 degrees within a matter of 10 minutes under certain conditions,” Canty said. “Dogs can’t sweat, the only way they can ventilate
themselves is by panting. So if they air they are intaking is 140 degrees, imagine what that is doing to their internal organs. We actually never condone leaving an animal alone in a car, even with the air conditioning on. We advise leaving the animal at home as opposed to leaving it in your vehicle, because you just never know. You would never leave a child in a car unattended, why leave a pet?”
By panting, dogs circulate air through their bodies to cool down. Canty asks pet owners to consider what a dog experiences in a hot car by imagining drinking a glass of 140-degree water.
He also suggests taking it easy when exercising with pets outside in hot weather by taking water breaks and seeking shade when possible. For dog breeds with heavy coats, Canty recommends consulting a veterinarian about summer grooming.