Houstonians deal with scorching heat

HOUSTON - Temperatures in Houston were brutally hot Tuesday, and residents dealt with the scorching heat the best ways they could.

At about 5 p.m., the official temperature at George Bush Intercontinental Airport was 105 degrees.

An excessive heat emergency is issued when the heat index hits 108 degrees for three or more days.

William Burgs said he's never lived in a home with air conditioning. All he has is a fan and all it does is blow around hot air.

"I'm sweating up a storm and it's really warm," he said.

Houston health officials said using a fan is a bad idea.

"It only circulates the air in the room," said Kathy Barton with the city's health department. "If the room it hot and humid, it will make you feel more hot and humid -- like a convection oven."

Demand for electricity goes up as the mercury in the thermometer rises. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it thinks there's enough power to go around, but there's no promise that it will be like that all summer.

Electric provider NRG recently brought 1,100 megawatts of power online.

"It's enough power that on the hottest day of the year, when people are running air conditioners, we can supply the needs of about 200,000 households," NRG spokesman David Knox said.

When there's a heat emergency, power companies are not allowed to turn off service because of lack of payment.

Some parents took their children outside for fun, but they made sure everyone had plenty of water and lots of breaks in the shade.

KPRC Local 2 tested the temperatures on some playground equipment near Memorial Park. Metal playground equipment came up as being 127 degrees. The hottest reading was on a slide that was 155 degrees.

Many decided to keep the children away from the equipment.

"I don't want them to get burned," aunt Barbara Interial said. "All the kids are wearing shorts and it's very hot."

There is some good news about Wednesday's temperatures.

"Highs tomorrow are not as hot," KPRC Local 2 chief meteorologist Frank Billingsley said. "We're going to start to see a sea breeze kick in. That means more humidity, lower temperatures but still triple digits through tomorrow."

Warning signs for heat stroke:

  • Not sweating
  • Collapsing
  • Becoming incoherent
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Body Temperature of 106 degrees or higher
  • Seizure

People who exhibit signs of heat stroke should do the following:

  • Call 911
  • Get out of the sun and go indoors or to a shady area
  • Cool with water, but not ice water
  • If someone is seizing, protect them from injury, but do not put anything in their mouth

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent heat-related injuries:

  • Drink plenty of cool water or other non-carbonated drinks
  • Take breaks about every hour and get out of the sun and cool down for at least 10 minutes
  • Wear hats, sunglasses and cotton or other natural fiber clothing
  • Use sunscreen to protect uncovered skin
  • If drinking sports drinks, cut them 50/50 with cold water
  • Do not use salt tablets -- drink sports drinks to replenish electrolytes

People who exhibit signs of a heat-related illness should do the following:

  • Get out of the sun and cool down
  • Sip cool water or 50 percent water/sports drink
  • Rest for at least 30 minutes after the symptoms end
  • Limit activity in the sun for the rest of the day
  • For chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911

Pets can suffer heat-related problems, too. Make sure they always have clean, fresh water available and access to shade or the indoors.

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