Extreme heat exists when temperatures are significantly hotter or more humid than average for that time of year. Extreme heat can cause individuals to suffer from heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. It is imperative that individuals who are more vulnerable to hot conditions, such as older adults, individuals with disabilities and/or illnesses, and young children take additional precautions when these conditions are present.
The National Weather Service may issue extreme heat notifications, such as Excessive Heat Watches and Warnings, and Heat Advisories. When extreme conditions exist, the Office of Emergency Management may open Cooling Centers throughout the County.
Excessive Heat Watch – An excessive heat watch is issued by the National Weather Service when there is a potential for the heat index value to reach or exceed 110°F within the next 24 to 48 hours
Excessive Heat Warning – An excessive heat warning is issued by the National Weather Service when the heat index value is expected to reach or exceed 110°F within the next 12 to 24 hours. An excessive heat warning may be issued for lower criteria if temperatures occur prior to the summer season or during a multi-day heat wave
Heat Advisory – A heat advisory is issued by the National Weather Service when the heat index value is expected to reach 105°F to 109°F within the next 12 to 24 hours. A heat advisory may be issued for lower criteria if it is early in the season or during a multi-day heat wave
Heat Index – The heat index is a measure of how hot it really feels outside to humans and animals when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature by the National Weather Service
When extreme heat conditions persist, the Office of Emergency Management encourages citizens in Anne Arundel County to do the following:
- Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Warning: if your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has prescribed you water pills, ask them how much you should drink while temperatures are above average
- Do not drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar, as these can cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks if possible, because they can cause stomach cramps
- Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air-conditioning, go to an air-conditioned public place or a County cooling center – even a few hours spent in air-conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat
- Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is excessively hot, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a more efficient way to cool off
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
- NEVER leave any person or animal in a closed, parked vehicle
- Visit at-risk individuals at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children require much more frequent watching
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