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Hot Enough for You?

Oklahomans are used to 100-degree days, but typically not so many during June and certainly not for this long. In Altus, for example, the high temperature for June 2011 averaged 104.8 degrees. Oklahoma City broke its high temperature record on five days during June (on the 17th at 103 deg, 18th at 104, 19th at 101, 27th at 103, and 27th at 106).

When will it end? We wish we knew (so that we can take a long vacation to somewhere cool until then). But the long-term outlooks do not look good. The 6-10 day outlook shows relatively high confidence that we will continue being warmer-than-normal across the state, and drier-than-normal in northwest Oklahoma, including the Panhandle, for the next two weeks:

That prediction does not bode well for those already suffering from drought. One-third of Oklahoma is experiencing exceptional drought conditions (a 4 on a scale of 0 to 4):

So, with all of this heat, it's important to remember safety tips:

  • Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor. Try to go to a public building with air conditioning each day for several hours.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool.
  • Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good briefly, but make the heat’s effects on your body worse.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
  • Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Check on your family and neighbors, especially young children, the elderly, or those who are ill.
  • Provide enough water and shade for outdoor animals.