Major Heat Wave Approaching

The Dangerous Heat Should Last Through July 4th

Robert Suhr
June 28, 2018 - 11:01 am

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - I really don't know where to start with today's blog entry.

The "Readers Digest" version is simple. Hot weather is coming.

But just how hot...and just how dangerous...and more importantly...WHY????

Before we get into how this type of heat is life threatening if you don't use common sense, lets start at the beginning with the most simple question...

What is a heat wave?

The World Meteorological Organization defines a "heat wave" in progress or happening as when the daily maximum temperature for more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by 9 degrees.

And here in Pittsburgh we're going to take a serious run at that.

High temperatures in the 90s are expected Saturday and lasting though Friday, July 6th. If that were to happen, it would be the first time Pittsburgh as a stretch of seven days above 90 degrees since it happened July 28th through August 3rd 1995.

During that heat wave, temperatures reached 91, 90, 92, 92, 94, 94 and 96 degrees. 

Saturday and Sunday look to be especially oppressive, as heat index values will soar into the 100s... 

With temperatures and heat indicies that high, the weather becomes dangerous to be out in.

Having said that, the chances of someone suffering from heat stroke increase dramatically...


I know a lot of people who hate cold weather, but LOVE the heat, however, hot weather is much harder on your body than the cold.

In fact, in an interview with WCCO in Minneapolis, Dr. Thomas Hellmich, with the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital says your body can deal with the cold much easier than the heat...

“If it goes up even 10 degrees, that’s gonna be really hard on your brain. Where if it goes down, it can actually be protective — in some situations,” Hellmich said.

So what's causing this intense heat? From hear, it gets a little geeky.

A lot of it has to do with how and where areas of high pressure set up and how strong they are...

With very strong areas of high pressure, such as this one, you get a lot of sinking air, when air sinks, it warms and is able to hold more moisture, which adds to the humidity.

Plus when you have 850 millibar (about 5,000 feet above the surface) temperatures already around 75 degrees, once that air sinks and warms adiabatically, temperatures at the ground can soar, and that's what's going to happen.

When you have these "heat domes" they are very stubborn to move, so once they form, they can last, sometimes for weeks.

Having said that, The Pennsylvania Department of Health has these tips if you MUST go out into the hot weather...

Remember to wear...

●    Lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing;
●    A hat or visor;
●    Sunglasses; and
●    SPF 15 or higher sunscreen (reapply as necessary).

Keep yourself hydrated...

●    Drink plenty of water throughout the day – don’t wait until you are thirsty!
●    Outdoor workers should drink between two and four cups of water every hour.
●    Avoid consuming caffeinated, alcoholic, or sugary beverages.
●    Replace salt lost from sweating by drinking fruit juice or sports drinks.

Safely excercise...

●    Limit outdoor exercise, and stay indoors in air conditioning on hot days.
●    Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
●    Pace yourself when you run, walk, or otherwise exert your body.

Help Protect Others...

●    Never leave children, older adults, or pets behind in a vehicle.
●    Check on those who may be more at risk from extreme temperatures like:
o    Infants and young children
o    People ages 65 and older
o    People with chronic medical conditions

Because of the heat the following City of Pittsburgh Citiparks facilities will serve as cooling centers on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1: 

SaturdayJune 30

  • Southside Market HAL Center, 12th St. & 1 Bedford Square, Pittsburgh PA 15203 - 11:00 am - 6:00 p.m. 
  • Brookline Recreation Center, 1400 Oakridge St, Pittsburgh PA 15226  - 8:00 am - Noon (normal operational hours)

 Sunday, July 1

  • Southside Market House HAL Center, 12th St. & 1 Bedford Square, Pittsburgh PA 15203 - Noon - 4:00 p.m

Outdoor swimming pools will be open for normal weekend hours of operation from 1:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. A list of outdoor pools can be found at http://pittsburghpa.gov/citiparks/citiparks-swimming/outdoor.html 

Spray Parks are open daily from 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., weather permitting. A list of Spray Park facilities can be found at http://pittsburghpa.gov/citiparks/citiparks-swimming/spray-parks.html

Residents are reminded to prepare for the extreme heat expected in coming days. Allegheny County issued a helpful list of hot weather tips and resources this morning.

The good news is it looks like the middle and late parts of July will be BELOW normal, but until then, get used to THIS GUY...

Until then, Ciao.