What is the Heat Index and how does it impact your summer?

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - You may often hear the phrase and graphic used on our weathercasts called the "Heat Index". Do you know what that means for you and how to apply it to your summer routine?

Central Louisiana, as we all know, is in a humid subtropical climate, while also being in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. During the summertime, heat tends to be the top weather story, especially when there is no tropical activity.

So, what is the Heat Index exactly? The Heat Index is the measurement of how hot it is outside when you factor in the relative humidity with the air temperature. There are a few websites available to calculate this weather variable.

Here’s an example of Heat Index by the National Weather Service. If you have outside temperatures of 96 degrees and relative humidity of 65%, the overall Heat Index in this case (or how hot it feels outside) is around 121 degrees.

The National Weather Service will put out weather alerts for when the Heat Index is expected to exceed anywhere from 105 to 110 degrees (depending on the local climate) for multiple days in a row. On already many occasions here across Cenla this summer season, there has been either at least a heat advisory and/or in some cases an excessive heat warning.

It’s beyond important that in situations such as these, where the Heat Index values are anywhere from 100 degrees or higher, to do the following:

- Limit time outdoors
- Apply sunscreen every few hours
- Drink water, sports drinks, or juice
- Wear sunglasses and light, loose clothing
- Cool your body with water (pool, lake, etc.)
- Seek shade as much as possible

If possible, just stay in an air-conditioned room or vehicle. If you don’t have air conditioning, then multiple fans and/or ceiling fans could help to keep you cool in the heat. You want to do all you can to prevent yourself from getting any of these conditions that are listed in this graphic on the top of this article.

Stay safe the rest of this summer across Cenla! Stay hydrated, healthy and happy - NOT dehydrated, unhealthy and unhappy!

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