Local News

Meteorologists Have New Way To Measure Heat's Effect On Body

Posted August 2, 2002 5:18 a.m. EDT

— Meteorologists are trying to do a better job of warning people during extreme periods of hot weather.

When outside during hot weather, people can often see heat waves rising from the pavement, yet they still people work and play. Forecasters at the National Weather Service (NWS) are trying to get the message across that that can be a bad, even deadly idea.

"Any time when your air temperature and humidity is going to get high enough to be dangerous to your health, we put out a heat advisory or an excessive heat warning, and I don't see people actually doing much with it," said NWS meteorologist George Lemons.

Both the National Weather Service and the University of Delaware are working on coming up with a

Heat Stress Index

. Based on a one to 10 scale, it not only considers heat and humidity, but also how much stress those two elements put on people in a specific location.

For example, a 95-degree day in Maine in July would top the scale while a 95-degree day in Arizona in July would not because people there are more accustomed to the heat. Raleigh is one of the trial cities for the study.

Researchers hope the new scale will help people plan for and deal with hot summer days.