Rising Temperatures Lead To Heat-Related Problems

Saturday, July 15th 2006, 12:51 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ With high humidity and temperatures climbing into triple digits, weather experts urged Oklahomans to keep out of the heat and stay cool.

``Any way you slice it, just about every part of the state is going to be 100 degrees or more by Sunday,'' said Patrick Burke, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Norman.

The heat index, or how hot the air will feel with the added humidity, should climb to about 105 to 107 degrees, Burke said.

A heat advisory was issued Saturday until 7 p.m. for parts of central and southern Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma City area.

The most severe advisory, an excessive heat warning, was issued Friday in southeastern Oklahoma, where added humidity is expected to result in an even higher heat index.

``The main thing is for people not to spend any more time outside than they have to,'' Burke said.

The death of a 33-year-old Moore woman is being investigated as possibly heat-related, authorities said.

Rachel Garrette was found dead in the garage of her home about 6 p.m. Thursday, Moore police officer Daniel Melendez said Friday. He said police found no signs of foul play.

The state medical examiner's office said the cause of death won't be released until the completion of an autopsy.

Humidity from recent rains, combined with near-record-setting temperatures, can lead to a deadly combination, Burke said.

Higher humidity limits the body's natural ability to cool itself because less perspiration evaporates to cool the skin, which means less productive sweating and increased risk of dehydration, Burke said.

All signs point to a heat wave for the state, Burke said, with no relief in sight for at least five to six days.

The elderly especially are at risk because aging reduces the natural sensation of thirst and the body's ability to cool itself by sweating, said Connie Stacy, director of clinical care for Grace Living Centers.

Seniors also should be reminded to take in more fluids during hot weather, whether or not they feel thirsty, she said.