Our friends at the National Weather Service (NWS) have developed a tool to help you understand what forecasted heat means to you. It is called the experimental HeatRisk. The tool provides a color and numeric value that places forecast heat for a specific location into an appropriate level of heat concern, along with identifying groups potentially most at risk at that level.
HeatRisk is a useful tool for planning and preparing for upcoming heat events. It shows potential risks associated with excessive heat and gives recommendations for heat protection.
Heat commonly affects certain groups, typically identified as heat sensitive or heat vulnerable, at lower thresholds than other populations. Some of these groups include:
- The elderly and the very young;
- Those on certain medications and/or those with preexisting conditions which make them more sensitive to heat (your doctor can let you know if this is you);
- Those working outdoors — especially new workers, temporary workers, or those returning to work after a week or more off;
- Those exercising or doing strenuous activities outdoors during the heat of the day – especially those not used to the level of heat expected, those who are not drinking enough fluids, or those new to that type of activity;
- Those without a reliable source of cooling and/or hydration;
- Those not acclimated to the level of heat expected – especially those who are new to a much warmer climate
- Some economic sectors are also affected by increasing levels of heat, such as energy and transportation.