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National Weather Service: "Heat Stroke Is an Emergency -- Call 911."

David Doniger

Posted July 22, 2011 in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming

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It’s in 102° in the Nation’s Capital this afternoon.  At 2PM the heat index in Washington was 119°.  (Update:  heat index at hit 121° at 3PM at Washington Reagan National Airport.)  And it ain’t just Washington:  132 million people in 29 states and Washington, D.C. are under heat advisories or excessive heat warnings today.  The National Weather Service reports:

oppressive heat and humidity remain in place for parts of the central and southern Plains and Ohio Valley and are intensifying across much of the eastern U.S. Excessive Heat Warnings and/or Heat Advisories remain in effect from Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and extreme northern Texas eastward into Ohio and Kentucky, as well as along the East Coast from Georgia to Maine. Heat index values will range from 105-115+ today from Boston to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Richmond, affecting millions of people along the I-95 corridor.

The Weather Service’s excessive heat warnings for Washington continue through today and tomorrow: 

...EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM EDT THIS EVENING...

 ...EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM TO 8 PM EDT SATURDAY...

* TEMPERATURE...HIGH TEMPERATURES THIS AFTERNOON IN THE LOWER 100S. HIGH TEMPERATURES SATURDAY AROUND 100.

* HEAT INDEX VALUES...115 TO 120.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

AN EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING MEANS THAT A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DANGEROUSLY HOT TEMPERATURES WILL OCCUR. THE COMBINATION OF HOT TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A DANGEROUS SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE LIKELY. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER...STAY IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED ROOM...STAY OUT OF THE SUN...AND CHECK ON RELATIVES AND NEIGHBORS.

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE...RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHTWEIGHT AND LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING.

TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK...THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR-CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY - CALL 9 1 1.

This is just the latest stroke in a terrible year of weather disasters – floods, storms, drought, and now heat waves – that together have cost hundreds of lives this year alone in this country alone.  People are dying from the heat today.  This is about our health and safety, right here, right now. 

Update from NWS:  Record all time maximum temperature has been set at Washington Dulles Airport Virginia...105 degrees f at 352 PM EDT this Friday afternoon.

In another day, in another world, you’d expect our Congress to be busy strengthening the Clean Air Act to better curb the carbon pollution that’s driving these dangerous climate changes.  Just last month, for the second time in four years, the Supreme Court affirmed that it is EPA’s job to curb dangerous carbon pollution from our power plants and vehicles, and EPA is in fact hard at work on these standards.

But in our Bizarro World, the Republicans who control the House of Representatives are busy trying to repeal the Clean Air Act, overturn the Supreme Court decisions, and block EPA from doing its job.  The House is set to vote next week on a funding bill with more than three dozen anti-health and anti-environmental policy riders

The bill would block EPA from using the Clean Air Act to curb carbon pollution from power plants, cars, trucks, oil refineries, or any other source.

The House Republicans don’t seem to care that real people are suffering out in the sun and the heat.  About the real Americans who are sick and dying.

Maybe it’s because they work in office buildings kept at meat-locker temperatures.  They need to get out more.

Call 911.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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