If you were to ask a survey of people what's the most life threatening weather condition, the answer you would most likely get would be something like Tornados or Hurricanes. It is easy to see why. These are the most visible weather phenomenon and we are in awe of their power. A far more simple answer is just brutal Heat. I'm talking hotter than hot. This is the kind of heat that when you open the door to go outside, you feel like you are walking into a blast furnace. Heat kills more than any other related weather event.
Heat combined with high humidity creates what is called a heat index. This is what the temperature feels like on your skin and to your body. Take a 100 Degree Farenheith Temperature and add a dew point of 74 Degrees and it feels like 114 outside.
Currently the US is locked in a brutal Heat Wave that is quietly taking lives across the country. In 1995, the great Chicago Heat Wave killed over 700 people. The local NOAA weather office here in Raleigh is already posting warnings for severe heat this Monday thru Wednesday. High temperature records are set to fall. The local news is talking about it and telling everyone to take care of the elderly and those without the comfort of air conditioning. Drink plenty of water and stay in the shade if you must work outside.
Take a major metropolitan area with polution and the heat just sits over the city creating a death trap for those who are not careful. It doesn't show up well on TV, it just happens quietly and before you know it you have a disaster. It stretches the suppport systems of major cities to the limit. This week will be about the Heat, just deadly brutal Heat.
Tropics update: Franklin has been torn apart today by wind shear and is moving quickly away towards the NE. After a good fight, Franklin has proved to be no threat. Gert was officially named this morning and is going to bring heavy rain to Mexico. It looks like we will close July 2005 with 7 tropical systems and 2 Major Hurricanes, pretty amazing. The Tropical Prediction Center has their eye on 2 waves in the Atlantic, so we could have more action later this week. We will stay on it.
*Note - This post is not done by a professional Meteorologist and should not be used for making decisions on safety and protection of property. Always use your local National Weather Service station or the National Hurricane Center for up to date weather information and data.*