The Woodward News

Local News

July 21, 2012

Woodward, area under heat advisory

Woodward, Okla. — The National Weather Service (NWS) in Norman has issued a heat advisory, effective until 7 p.m. Monday.

The advisory covers Woodward, most area counties and much of the state.

Woodward Emergency Management Director Matt Lehenbauer said even though the advisory is designated to end at 7 p.m. Monday, he expects the sweltering conditions to continue.

"The humidity is low and of course, the temperatures are very high," Lehenbauer said. "There's a chance of a shower, but we don't see any major systems coming through."

At Woodward Regional Hospital (WRH), Dr. Jason Ray said the emergency room staff has been seeing several people a day with heat difficulties for the last few weeks.

The big problem - "they are not drinking enough water," he said.

WARNING SIGNS OF HEAT PROBLEMS

The federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), included on healthfinder.gov, said that seniors in particular have a hard time adjusting to adjusting to the heat, as do those with chronic health conditions.

Some warning signs of heat exhaustion include:

- Heavy sweating or a pale appearance

- Muscle cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting

- Dizziness, weakness, fatigue or fainting

- Moist skin, but it's quite cool to a touch

- And a weak or fast pulse or fast and shallow breathing.

Dr. Ray adds that someone who isn't sweating may also be experiencing a heat-related difficulty.

He said the WRH doctors and nurses quickly try to get a patient cooled down and intravenous treatments are then administered.

"If people do the right things, they can avoid getting into these situations," Ray said. "You know, it's the old saying about the ounce of prevention (being better) than a pound of cure."

BEATING THE HEAT

To avoid heat-related difficulties, National Weather Service officials recommend scheduling strenuous activities for the morning or evening, wearing lightweight or loose-fitting clothing, drinking lots of water and taking frequent rest breaks.

Daryl Williams, a forecaster in Norman, also said to wear sunblock/sunscreen of a least SPF 15 to guard against sunburn.

"Skin retains heat," he said. "And a sunburn is not a good thing in the short or long-term."

Williams also cautioned against leaving the elderly, children or pets in parked cars.

He said it doesn't cool off much at night, another factor in the issuance of a heat advisory. Predicted lows through the weekend are in the upper 70s.

And Williams said forecasters are looking for the temperature to hit 107 degrees in Woodward either Saturday or Sunday.

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