The heat index reached 111 in Richmond on Thursday, the highest in several years, and people struggled to stay cool. But the worst s yet to come. Through the weekend, humidity caused by recent rains should drive the heat index to 110 to 120 degrees. The weather service says this stretch of warm weather appears to be the worst in the Richmond area since a July 1995 heat wave.
An excessive-heat warning , which is uncommon in this area, remains in effect until Saturday night.
If you live in an apartment in Richmond, VA, be aware of your neighbors, and take an extra dip in the pool to stay cool. Take caution while outdoors to avoid heat illnesses. Also keep in mind that ozone unofficially hit unhealthy levels in the area Thursday, and more unsafe air is expected today.
A common sense approach to the heat can reduce heat-related problems, especially for the elderly, the very young and people with respiratory ailments. These folks are more susceptible to the effects of high temperatures.
Here are some tips to follow during hot, humid weather:
- Slow down, avoid strenuous activity. Do not try to do too much on a hot day.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat.
- Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
- Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals. Avoid high protein foods that increase metabolic heat.
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- If you do not have air conditioning, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sun. Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help evaporate perspiration, which cools your body.
- Go to a place where you can get relief from the heat, such as air conditioned stores, libraries, theaters and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.
- Check with your community for information about possible local "cooling centers." Cooling centers are open in Richmond and Petersburg through Sunday.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%.
- Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. If you are outside, use sunscreen lotion with a high SPF.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors.