From the ABC 7 Weather team

'Hyperthermia Alert' posted in D.C. as the country cooks

July 11, 2011 - 02:50 PM
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The D.C. government is warning residents to take precautions against this devilish heat, which at last check was at 94 degrees.

It's turning out to be a delicious, flame-broiled day in D.C.

The temperature recently hit 94 degrees at Reagan National, and with dew points around 72 walking outside is like stepping in front of a firehose of burning steam. The District has raised a “hyperthermia alert” and is urging people to take “precautions” because the heat index has surpassed 95 degrees.

Hyperthermia's no joke: As your body overheats and perspires out its precious electrolytes, you can become dizzy and confused (a condition called heat syncope), get heat cramps, swell up into a fuming ball (heat edema) or even have your heart stop beating due to the stress. Hyperthermia is so potent that the condition shares its name with a cancer treatment that uses heat up to 20 degrees above what's beating down on D.C. right now to kill cancer cells. So drink scads of cold water and wear loose-fitting clothes, preferably muu-muus, because in dire times like these we all need a laugh.

But D.C. isn't the only city sweating through an onslaught of fiercely agitated air.

A sizable portion of the mid-country has fallen into a smoldering heat hole that's slowly moving east with a ridge in the jet stream. The D.C. office of the National Weather Service, already looking toward sun-scorched tomorrow, has issued a heat advisory from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday for temperatures near 100 degrees and heat-index values of up to 106 degrees.

Check out the above map of standing weather advisories from the weather service, which calls the heat snap a “very dangerous situation.” The purple crescent demarcates areas under “excessive heat warnings” while the orange swath shows active heat advisories. In Topeka, Kan., for instance, the heat index is expected to hover between 110 and 115 degrees. The weather service is warning that those temps could spread heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which needless to say goes for D.C. as well.

There are also UV alerts in New England and the South for DNA-cooking solar radiation. The weather heads at ABC7 are tracking a cluster of thunderstorms over the Ohio Valley. If the Appalachians don't block them, rain could bring some relief tonight. Stay tuned with the latest forecast.

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