Meteorologists have issued a dire warning for the first week of August, as scorching temperatures and high humidity in metro New Orleans are expected to drive the heat index up to a dangerous 117 degrees.
An excessive heat warning is in effect for Monday and Tuesday, with the possibility of another warning on Wednesday. This extreme heat poses a serious health risk, leading to immediate acute effects like exhaustion and heatstroke, as well as long-term complications due to reduced air quality.
According to Phil Grigsby, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Slidell, temperatures this week in New Orleans are approximately 10 degrees above the seasonal average.
The forecast indicates highs of 99 degrees, but when combined with humidity, the “feels like” temperature soars above 100. Despite slightly lower humidity than usual, Grigsby emphasizes that conditions are still unbearable, likening it to being in the presence of a blast furnace.
Unprecedented Heat Trends
The arrival of extreme heat came earlier than expected this summer in New Orleans. By June, the city had already experienced more excessive heat warnings than throughout the entirety of the previous year.
The tweet below verifies the news:
The first week of August is going to be brutally hot, meteorologists warn, as the heat index in metro New Orleans potentially climbs to 117. https://t.co/hnpELlfyup
— Axios (@axios) August 1, 2023
This trend continued into July, with the National Weather Service in Slidell setting an office record for the highest number of heat advisories issued in a single month. Notably, July is on track to become the hottest month on record globally.
In response to the dangerous heatwave, President Biden announced new federal heat-related protections for workers.
These protections include the Department of Labor’s first-ever “hazard alert” for extreme temperatures. With ocean temperatures also reaching unprecedented levels since mid-May, authorities are taking proactive measures to safeguard public health and well-being.
Safety Measures and Tips
To combat the extreme heat, the city of New Orleans has opened public cooling stations throughout the week. Residents and visitors are advised to stay indoors in air-conditioned spaces during the hottest parts of the day.
It’s crucial to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks in shaded areas. Swimming in the Mississippi River is strongly discouraged due to the risks associated with high temperatures, and officials will be patrolling the area to ensure public safety.
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