SCOTTSBLUFF — Does it feel like you’re quicker to heat up and get “sticky” during outdoor activities than normal?
If it does, you’re probably right, and if you’re feeling physically ill from the heat, here are some suggestions to help you out.
First, why so humid?
“It’s just the way the weather systems have worked out,” Cheyenne National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Garmon said, “where we haven’t really had an extended dry period to clear that moisture out of the air.”
Questions about the extra humidity have been coming in to the weather service often, so if you’ve been noticing it, you’re not alone.
“We’ve definitely heard it from the public,” Garmon said. “We know exactly what they’re talking about, because we live in the community as well, so we feel it too. It’s definitely stickier to us as well.”
A series of upper air disturbances in the spring left Scottsbluff at almost 2 1/2 inches above normal precipitation year-to-date. The moisture remaining in the air left the dew point Tuesday morning at 58, where it’s normally in the 40s. Over the next week, Garmon said patterns indicate that temperatures have a chance of being near normal in the upper 80s with possible precipitation trending down despite a chance of rain Thursday. Over the next two weeks, that same trend will continue with temperatures near normal and below normal precipitation. However, the three to four week outlook heading into the end of August and early September calls for a return to above normal precipitation.
For individuals who may be doing work or exercising outside, Valley Ambulance Operations Manager Shawn Baumgartner said the increased humidity creates more stress on the body.
He said there are warning signs to look for. The first indicator for heat exhaustion is a drop in urination as the body starts holding back all the water it can. Beyond that, watch for feeling tired or weak, cramping, tremors or shaking in the arms or legs (not siezures), “foggy” thinking and eventually, collapse.
Heat stroke differs from heat exhaustion and is a much more serious condition, according to Baumgartner. In the event of heat stroke, the individual loses the ability to sweat, the body increases to an abnormally high internal temperature and can no longer regulate itself. Medical attention should be sought immediately for heat stroke.
Baumgartner said the first and foremost, prevention for heat exhaustion is hydration.
“Drink lots and lots of water,” he said. “Drink double to three times what you would normally.”
He added sports drinks typically have sugars that can actually be a shock to your system, so if you want a sports drink for flavor, cut it in half by mixing it with water. Soft drinks and energy drinks typically contain sugars and caffeine and do not hydrate your body at all.
Baumgartner said to limit activity as much as possible in the heat of the day between 11 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. If you recognize that you’re feeling the effects of the heat, hydrate and take breaks in the shade and out of the heat. Ultimately, if you’re concerned about what your body is telling you in the heat, seek medical advice, whether it be at a local walk-in clinic or emergency room or even calling 911 for help.