Wisconsin experienced a small heat wave July 16-19, when heat indices around the state reached above 100 F.
The heat index, or apparent temperature index, indicates how hot it feels. When our bodies get hot, we cool down by sweating. It is not the sweating that cools our bodies; it is the evaporation of the sweat. If the air has a high humidity, then the rate of evaporation is reduced. This hampers the body’s ability to maintain a nearly constant internal body temperature. When the temperature is high and the relative humidity is high, the heat index is high and it seems hotter than it really is. In these cases, the heat index is greater than the actual temperature.
High heat indices can pose a threat to our health. When life and property are threatened, the National Weather Service, or NWS, will issue weather advisories, watches or warnings. A watch implies you should be aware a weather hazard may develop in your area. A warning is issued when the hazard is developing in your area, and you should take immediate action . An advisory is a less urgent statement to bring to the public’s attention a situation that may cause some inconvenience or difficulty for travelers or people who have to be outdoors.
The NWS issued a heat advisory during this recent hot weather event. When under a heat advisory, you are advised to limit vigorous outdoor activity and drink plenty of fluids.