As summer starts to set in, our outdoor activities tend to increase. Working, swimming, golfing, yard care and watching or playing sports are just some of the ways we spend our time outside. While all of these activities are a great way to enjoy the outdoors in our community, it is important to be aware of our surroundings, as the summer weather can surprise us without much warning.
Summer storms can form quickly and bring lightning, strong winds, hail, and sometimes spawn tornados. Often storm warnings and watches are issued by the various weather services and emergency agencies. It is very important to take any severe weather alert seriously. As a reminder, a “Watch” means there is potential for severe weather. A “Warning” means weather is imminent in the area or something is already occurring.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 49 people are killed on average in the United States by lightning each year. If you are outside when a severe weather alert is issued, get inside or under shelter as quickly as possible.
Being notified of severe weather is of the utmost importance. There are numerous social media applications that enable users to be notified of any severe weather in the area. A more traditional option of scanners or severe weather radios are a wise investment as they are often powered by turning a self-contained crank so they can be used in the event of a power failure.
There are other hidden dangers that lurk in the soaring summer temperatures. There are numerous types of heat-related injuries. The most common are heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat cramps consist of muscle spasms and cramps that occur during or after strenuous work or exercise and sweating in high heat. Heat exhaustion is caused by excessive sweating without sufficient fluid and salt replacement. This condition occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to a heat stroke. A heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. To prevent these types of injuries, it is important to stay hydrated, take adequate breaks, find a shaded area to cool off and seek an air-conditioned location as soon as possible to aid in the cooling process.
The extreme heat is dangerous for everyone, but more so for our elderly and mobility impaired citizens. We must pay closer attention, and make routine checks, as they may not be able to get the help they need. The added stress of increased temperatures may cause them to experience a heat-related injury that can exacerbate other pre-existing conditions. If there is a person who may need to be checked on, please call the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office at 704-878-3100.
If you have any other questions or concerns which I or one of the deputies can answer, please send me an email at email@example.com or call our office at 704-878-3180.
Darren Campbell is the Iredell County sheriff.