High temperatures expected this week

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Forecasters are expecting a small heat wave to affect the area Wednesday and Thursday, with inland temperatures reaching the mid-to-upper 90s. This will likely be the highest temperatures the area has seen since last September.

The WMBF Storm Team says highs will be in the mid 90s in the Pee Dee Wednesday and Thursday, with several spots likely reaching the upper 90s. Heat index values will probably be near or slightly above 100. The beaches are expected to be a bit cooler; highs hovering around 90 both days.

Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of deaths every year. During extremely hot and humid weather, the body's ability to cool itself is affected, which can result in a rise in body temperature and result in heat-related illnesses, which can range from heat cramps and heat exhaustion to a serious heat stroke. A heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention. Some people are more susceptible to heat-related illness than others- children, older adults, obese people, those with heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, and those that use prescription drugs and alcohol.

With these temperatures in the forecast, it is important to remember heat safety information. If at all possible, stay indoors with air conditioning. If you must go outside, don't stay out too long. If you must stay outside for extended periods of time, remember to take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water; caffeinated drinks, sugary drinks and alcohol can cause further dehydration.

Never leave pets or children in cars. When a car has been sitting outside in only 80-degree weather for 10 minutes, the inside of the car reaches 99 degrees. After 20 minutes, that temperature rises to 109 degrees. After one hour, that temperature reaches 123 degrees. Last year alone, 32 children died as a result of being left in a hot car; that number was 49 in 2010.

It is important to remember symptoms and first aid for heat-related illness. You should know the symptoms for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke or sunstroke. Know what you should do if you or someone else starts showing symptoms of heat-related illness; never hesitate to seek medical attention.

For further information, consider reading this useful article from the National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/index.shtml

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