Officials urge caution in hot, humid weather
With high temperatures in the mid-90s combined with higher than normal humidity and fewer afternoon-type rains producing very uncomfortable weather, emergency officials are urging residents to use caution when outside in peak times, or avoid them all together and stay inside.
The high temperature reached 93 degrees at a recording station at Osceola Heritage Park Sunday, and was at 92 at 3 p.m. today not long after a brief shower passed through the area. The heat index, or the “feels like” or “real feel” temperature reported on many mobile devices, was 103, the norm for the area on Sunday, today and expected Tuesday. The reporting station at St. Cloud Regional Medical Center hit 98 before the mid-day shower passed.
By Wednesday, Weather Underground (wunderground.com) forecasts the “normal” summer pattern returning — temperatures closer to 92 and an increased chance of afternoon showers or thunderstorms.
With those heat indexes soaring into triple digits with ease, the heat that could be dangerous for the elderly or those who have medical issues, local emergency management officials urge caution.
The best advice is to stay out of the sun, and in air conditioning, as much as possible. Keep an eye on neighbors and animals who are sensitive to the heat.
If you must be outside, wear loose-fitting, light-colored, lightweight clothing. Wear a hat, and drink plenty of water.
Kissimmee Utility Authority spokesperson Chris Gent said customers have used 13 percent more electricity in July than they did in May.
As outside temperatures rise, utility officials recommend residents set their thermostats on the highest comfortable setting (KUA recommends 80 degrees); raising the temperature just two degrees can reduce cooling costs by as much as five percent. Window AC units and ceiling fans can be used to combat the heat, but in general they cool people, not rooms, so they can be turned off when the room is empty. Filters should be cleaned or changed regularly, as dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce efficiency.