Deadly Dangers Of Oklahoma's Summer Heat

Friday, June 18th 2010, 3:23 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6 

TULSA, OK -- Here comes summer. The high temperature was about 5 degrees above normal on Friday afternoon.

That may not sound like much, but this time of year 5 degrees can make things dangerous.

And it's not going to get better any time soon.

Ask any kid, and they know how to keep cool in this kind of heat – stay in the pool. But many folks who can't splash around all day are instead soaking in sweat.

"I can work 30 minutes, and I'm totally drenched," said Tulsa resident Jackie Smith. "I can't believe it's this hot already."

While he is on the back of a mower, the heat is always at the front of Jackie Smith's mind.

We also found Dave Ivory outside, and he finds the heat devastating as he waits for a bus.

"Due to the fact that this is my bad side anyway," he said, shielding his face from the sun.

Years of Oklahoma summers have given him a lot of hot weather wisdom.

"The elderly should stay in, drink plenty of fluids, try to keep as cool as possible," Ivory said.

It's a warning health workers want all of us to heed. Every year, the heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States. It claims more lives than lightning, floods, tornados and hurricanes combined.

And this next week: it won't be much fun.

"If you don't have to be out, don't be out," said Tulsa resident Dave Ivory.

Temperatures in the upper 90s combined with high humidity will create a heat index that will flirt with the danger zone. A heat index - or what it feels like outside - of 105 degrees is considered dangerous.

"Well you've got to be careful of it," Ivory said. "If your body is not in good shape, it will take its toll on you."

Remember that's wisdom talking. So find some fluids and some shade and get ready, because here comes another hot Oklahoma summer.

EMSA issues a heat alert if they get five or more heat-related calls within a 24-hour period. They anticipate having to issue one this weekend. The National Weather Service also issues its own warning if the temperature doesn't get below 75 degrees at night.