Heat and humidity hit dangerous levels

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com

It should be hot during the summer in south-central Pennsylvania, but the heat and humidity are cranking up higher than normal into the weekend.

The heat index will push the "feels like" temperatures into triple digits and the Pennsylvania Department of Health is urging people to take precautions against potentially deadly heat stress.

What's in store 

The mercury will hit the mid-90s in the Greencastle area on Friday and Saturday, according to Bill Gartner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College. It will be "a touch cooler" on Sunday, with a high around 91 instead of 95, he said.

However, the combination of heat and humidity will make it feel like 100 to 105 all three days.

There is only a slight chance of an isolated thunderstorm Friday and Saturday. A front will move through Sunday afternoon, increasing the potential for storms to 30 to 40 percent.

Temperatures will return to more normal levels for late July next week. Monday will still be hot and humid with highs in the mid-80s, but temperatures will be more seasonal in the low to mid-80s Tuesday and Wednesday.

Heat and health 

The department of health encouraged all Pennsylvanians to be aware of the dangerous impacts extreme heat can have on them and their neighbors.

“The combination of heat and humidity can be deadly for people who are not able to keep themselves cool,” Dr. Rachel Levine, secretary of health, said. “Exposure to high temperatures for long periods of time can cause heat exhaustion or heat strokes. We ask all Pennsylvanians to be a good neighbors and check on those who may have limited mobility or may not have a way to escape the heat.”

There are several groups of people who are at risk of developing heat-related health conditions during high temperatures. Those groups include infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, people with chronic medical conditions and those who must work outdoors. It is important to make sure these groups are monitored on hot days.

Extremely hot weather can make you sick, and extreme heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the United States each year. Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that cases of heat stress illness have been increasing in recent years, and that the majority of heat stress illnesses occur in men and those 65 years and older.

Remember to wear:

Lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing

A hat or visor


SPF 30 or higher sunscreen with broad spectrum coverage (reapply as necessary).

To stay hydrated:

Drink plenty of water throughout the day – do not 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.

To safely exercise:

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.

It is also important to know the difference between heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Symptoms of a heat stroke include a high body temperature (above 103 degrees); red, hot and dry skin, but no sweating; a rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

If you think someone is having a heat stroke, it is important to first call 911. After calling for help, get the person to a shady area and quickly cool them down by putting them in a tub of cool water or spraying them with a garden hose. You should not give the victim any fluids, including water, to drink.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting and nausea or vomiting. 

Help the person cool off and seek medical attention if symptoms are severe, symptoms last more than one hour, or the victim has heart problems or high blood pressure.

For more information on how to deal with the heat and other natural disasters, visit: