Hot, Humid, and Hazy
2018-06-30 16:40:13.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist
With the upcoming weather pattern, there are a two noteworthy things to talk about.
The first is the various Heat Advisories in place from neighboring NWS offices. While the higher peaks will be cooler, summits will still be hot/humid and trailheads and several lower elevations fall under the heat advisory criteria. With the Heat Advisories in place, some notes to keep in mind for the weekend and beyond: Pack extra fluids than you normally would carry, hydrate frequently, and encouraging everyone in your party to hydrate. Do not wait until you are thirsty as that could be too late in these kind of conditions. Avoid alcohol and drinks with high sugar content as these are actually dehydrators. And avoid extremely cold drinks as these can cause internal muscles to cramp. If you have pets or small children (that aren’t carrying their own water) on the trail, remember to hydrate with them frequently too. Do not leave them in a parked vehicle for any amount of time. Replace salts and minerals as heavy sweating removes these from your body. Limit activities in direct sunshine and take it slow and take plenty of breaks in shaded areas. Outdoor activities should be limited and scheduled for early morning or evening hours when conditions will be slightly cooler. Wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose fitting clothing preferably made with synthetic materials that can breathe. Be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher with broad spectrum protection. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Hike with others so that you can identify anyone suffering from these symptoms. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location and allowed time to recover. Be advised that if situations deteriorate to the point where emergency service must be called, cell coverage around the Whites is spotty and emergency services can take several hours to arrive for most locations.
How do you recognize heat exhaustion? While warning signs and symptoms vary, they typically consist of heavy sweating, paleness in the skin, muscle cramps, extreme tiredness, weakness, dizziness and loss of balance, headaches, nausea/vomiting, fainting, cool/clammy skin in direct sunlight, a fast or weak pulse, and/or fast or shallow breathing.
If untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. Before that occurs, provide the individual cool/non-alcoholic beverages, provide plenty of time to rest in shaded (or if accessible, an air-conditioned environment) areas, use wet rags/clothing to wipe, drip, or drape, if not too far gone a dip in cool water, take off unnecessary layers, and provide salty/sweet foods.
If the victim is past the exhaustion stage, how do you recognize heat stroke? While the symptoms vary, but typically consist of high body temperatures (typically above 103F), red/hot/dry skin with little to no sweat present, a rapid/strong heartbeat, headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, slurred speech, frequent stumbling, and/or unconsciousness.
If suffering from heat stroke, emergency service must be called. However, cell coverage around the Whites is spotty and emergency services can take several hours to arrive for most locations. Despite these challenges though, try to get someone in your party to move to a location so that they can place a call to get SAR efforts in motion ASAP. While waiting, move the victim to shade, cool the victim rapidly using whatever method you can, monitor body temperatures as best you can, sometimes muscles might twitch uncontrollably so try to prevent the individual from injuring themselves, do not put fluids or foods in their mouth, and if vomiting, turn the victim on their side to free their airways.
Mt Washington and the southern peaks of the Presidential Range
The second thing to cover: NHDES Declares Air Quality Action Day – Unhealthy Air Pollution Levels Predicted for Monday, July 2nd and Beyond. Their statement is as follows:
“The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is expecting air pollution concentrations to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals in Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford, and Sullivan Counties, and at elevations above 3000 feet on Monday, July 2. These air quality conditions are expected to continue during the heatwave. Advisories may be extended early next week for July 3rd through July 6th if needed.
NHDES officials are calling for an Air Quality Action Day and advise sensitive individuals in these areas to take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged or outdoor exertion. Sensitive individuals include children and older adults; anyone with lung disease such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis; and people who are active outdoors. Even healthy individuals may experience mild health effects and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged outdoor activities.
NHDES forecasts unhealthy concentrations of ground-level ozone (the main component of smog) for sensitive individuals in the above-mentioned regions. In addition, moderate levels of fine particle pollution are expected statewide during this event. The predicted unhealthy air quality comes from the persistence of high temperatures under sunny skies and winds transporting pollution into New Hampshire from surrounding areas in combination with local emissions. These air quality conditions may continue throughout the heatwave until cooler weather and cleaner air move into the state late next week. Additional advisories will be issued as needed.
Symptoms of ozone exposure include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain when inhaling deeply, and shortness of breath. The severity of the health effects increases as ozone concentrations increase.
For further information, contact NHDES at (603) 419-9697. For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire, call 1-800-935-SMOG or visit the NHDES website at www.airquality.nh.gov”
Bottom line – Stay safe out there in the coming days!
June 30, 2018 sunrise over the Northern Presidentials
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Staff Meteorologist