TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Severe Weather Awareness Week 2024 wraps up Friday for Georgia and Florida.
The last day of coverage brings us to the topics of temperature extremes and wildfire.
Florida and Georgia can get HOT in the summer months- especially when you add in the extra moisture to our atmosphere.
Humid summer days can make it feel MUCH hotter than it actually is.
This is because your sweat cannot evaporate as efficiently. Our air is already so saturated with moisture that the evaporation process is slowed.
Evaporation is a cooling process, so when our sweat cannot evaporate, we are left feeling sticky and cannot cool our core temperature as easily.
Overheating becomes more likely as our bodies cannot cool, so things like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, cramps and rashes are possible.
Deaths related to heat in Florida saw a substantial increase from 2019 to 2022. Data released in 2023 in the National Conference of Citizenship's (NCoC), a congressionally chartered nonprofit dedicated to advancing civic life in America, found that the number of heat-related deaths in Florida jump 88% between 2019 and 2022.
Hot cars can also lead to injury or death.
According to Kids and Care Safety, in 2023, 7 of the 29 total deaths occurred from hot car incidents in Florida. One death occurred in Georgia.
Temperatures in cars can rise quickly when left in the sun. A car in direct sunlight can get up to 120-degrees in just 20 minutes with temperatures outside around 90-degrees.
*Out of all the hazards we have gone over these last few days, heat-related deaths are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the United States. Most years heat kills more people than hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding combined.
It is always important to check your backseat, drink plenty of water, limit exposure to high heat/high humidity outdoor days, and have a place to cool off quickly if overheating does occur.
Wildfires are not as much of a threat to parts our area thanks to the high humidity levels that keep vegetation from completely drying out. That's not to say they cannot happen. Wildfires or brush fires can and do occur in Florida in Georgia.
Typically we find wildfire or brush fire activity from longer periods of drier and warmer air. Red Flag Warnings can be issued for our area if humidity levels drop and wind is higher. This is because low humidity allows drying of vegetation, so it burns faster and hotter. Wind spreads any wildfires or brush fires that do occur very quickly.
A lot of land owners burn brush and debris throughout the summer, but it is important to keep up with your local fire bans and warnings before doing so. One ember blown into a dry area can cause a new fire to occur and spread quickly.
That being said, most wildfires in the United States are human-caused. Another important part of the hot, dry stretches in our area is making sure you are enjoying the outdoors responsibly by making sure campfires are out. A lot of times campers will assume that a fire is out because they do not see smoke. Embers can still be hot at the bottom of the fire pit, and could reignite a new fire at any time. If wind catches the unattended campfire embers and blows them into dry brush, then a wildfire could start and not be seen until the fire gets out of control.
Thank you for joining me in our discussions of various topics over Severe Weather Awareness Week! Stay safe and stay aware!