The latest run of heat is not unusual for the Baton Rouge area. The strong of advisories and warnings issued by the National Weather Service should not be taken lightly though. Many would be surprised to learn that data collected by the National Weather Service (NWS) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows heat to be the number one weather related killer. Heat, known as the silent killer, accounted for more deaths than hurricanes and tornadoes combined in 2019 and over a 30-year average. Flooding is the second leading weather killer.
There are many reasons for the surprising numbers, although many have to do with human perception. Unlike flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes, heat is not something one can see. It is known as a “creeping” hazard that starts with subtle impacts to the human body rather than damage to property or structures. Heat also disproportionately affects certain at-risk populations. As the local area approaches the midway point of summer, remember to slow down during the peak heating hours, wear light, loose clothing and stay hydrated. If you feel dizzy, nauseous or weak take a break in shade or air-conditioning.
Water has a similar identity problem that causes it to be taken less seriously. Images of storm surge, trees bent sideways, and wedge tornadoes are just scarier looking than a high thermometer or a deep pool of water. Allow the statistics around flood and heat related deaths to serve as a reminder that if there is an advisory or warning for some type of weather—you should take it seriously and take the proper precautions.
Know that you can receive your weather alerts from the WBRZ Weather Team on every platform. Turn to News 2, wbrz.com, and the WBRZ WX App on your Apple or Android device. Follow WBRZ Weather on Facebook and Twitter for even more weather updates while you are on the go.