Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

July 3, 2012

Iowa back under the broiler

OTTUMWA — If there's one request Iowa residents have for area disc jockeys, it's this: Please, no Buster Poindexter.

Poindexter's biggest song was "Hot, Hot, Hot," and folks here don't need to be reminded of the temperatures. Three of the next four days are forecast to hit triple digits in southeast Iowa, a heat wave of potentially dangerous proportions.

Most of the state is under a heat advisory through 7 p.m. Saturday. Only the northeast corner or Iowa escapes that advisory, and they're under an excessive heat warning.

Nationally, heat advisories or warnings stretch from central Nebraska to West Virginia, including all of Iowa and Illinois, along with most of South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri. The National Weather Service blames the heat on a strong high pressure system over the central U.S.

Heat can be deadly; it kills an average of 175 Americans each year. And, the NWS notes, those are direct casualties. Heat can indirectly contribute to many more fatalities.

The dangerous thing about this heat wave is that the temperatures overnight won't drop much. In Ottumwa, the lowest temperature forecast through Saturday is a comparatively balmy 76 degrees. That doesn't give the body much time to recover from the stresses of a hot day.

Experts says the best protection is air conditioning. Staying in air conditioned areas give the body a break from the heat, reducing risk. Staying hydrated is also critical. The body loses much more water than normal, and drinking before you feel thirsty is the best way to stay ahead.

Have to be active in the heat? Take breaks. And a cold shower or bath after working outside can refresh and protect.

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