The summer heat is expected to get more intense this weekend and reach dangerous levels.
A hazardous weather outlook has been issued by the National Weather Service for 25 counties in Southern Ohio, including all in the Dayton and Springfield areas.
Extreme heat, since 1986, has killed on average more people - 130 - each year than hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and lightning, according to the American Red Cross.
This weekend’s mixture of heat and humidity - which arrives during county fair season - is expected to top 100 degrees while temperatures may not get below 70, an environment which limits the body’s ability to recharge, health officials said.
“These types of conditions can cause those without air conditioning to experience significant physical and mental stress,” according to Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County. “When nighttime lows fail to drop below 70 degrees, the human body has a difficult time recovering from the ongoing heat.”
Health officials are urging caution about outdoor activities as the Clark County Fair begins today.
Two misting fans with 36-inch blades will be at outdoor sites at the Clark County Fair and more water coolers will be on hand, said Charles Patterson, county health commissioner.
Each fan “should be able to cool multiple people at a time because of the area it can cover,” he said.
While no heat-related illnesses have been reported locally, the extreme weather hits the region at a time when children being left in vehicles are most at risk to die from heatstroke, authorities said.
“Such tragedies peak in July and August and area parents are advised to also check the back seat to avoid leaving their children in hot cars and to keep keys away from children so they cannot get in on their own,” according to AAA.
Nationwide figures this year indicate excessive heat from being left in vehicles has killed 19 children, five shy of the total for all of 2015, according to AAA.
During the next several days health officials will be monitoring reports at hospital emergency rooms and other medical facilities “so if we need to give additional warnings, we’re able to do that as quickly as possible,” Patterson said.
Monday’s temperatures are forecast to hit 90 with lows remaining above 70, according to News Center 7 meteorologists.
If this heatwave continues into next week, health officials may open cooling centers and ask people to check on neighbors, Patterson said.
“Going to a cooling center, going to a store that has air conditioning, seeking an air-conditioned place – where your body can just recharge for a couple of hours before you go back out into the heat – is very important,” he said.
“It’s not just the heat during the day. It’s the consistent heat and humidity overnight that people don’t realize that that catches up to them after a while,” Patterson added.
The ability to be in a cool environment, he noted, is “even more important when we see multiple days in a row where their bodies haven’t had the ability to have a break.”
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