The National Weather Service announced today that an excessive heat advisory is in effect for all of southern Maryland from Monday, July 31, 2006 to Thursday, August 3, 2006, at 6:00 p.m. The heat value indexes may approach the 110 degree or higher mark. Due to the humidity, temperatures will be slow to cool at night. Heat index values through the evening will be oppressive in the 90's to near 100. Little relief is expected during the night time hours.
An excessive heat advisory means that a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures will occur. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses and fatalities are likely.
Authorities suggest the following precautions to deal with the heat:
1. Drink plenty of fluids. Wear light colored clothing and a hat.
2. Plan to spend afternoons in an air conditioned room.
3. Plan any outdoor activities for the early morning hours.
4. Check up on elderly family and neighbors-these people are at the most risk.
5. Provide outside pets and livestock with plenty of water and shade.
6. Never leave children or pets in parked cars even with the windows open. Temperatures can reach 130 degrees in a vehicle in only a few minutes.
PEPCO has already issued an advisory asking customers to conserve energy. It is expected that SMECO will issue a similar statement shortly.
PEPCO noted that as customers try to keep cool with air conditioning, increased demand for electricity affects distribution lines. Increased power flowing through the lines causes them to heat up and expand or sag. In some cases the sag is great enough that the line comes into contact with tree branches growing near the line, causing a short circuit or outage. The high current flow can cause heating and stretching of cables, switches and other equipment allowing minor flaws in insulation or connections to grow, resulting in an outage.
Electricity loads in combination with high ambient temperatures can also cause transformers to heat up to very high temperatures. Such conditions can permanently damage equipment.
Pepco offered these tips for conserving electricity:
* Set your air conditioner thermostat as high as health permits.
* Close curtains and blinds to keep out the sun's hot rays and retain cooler air inside.
* Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until the cooler evening hours.
* Turn off non-essential electric appliances and equipment that can heat up your home or business
You can monitor the current weather and forecasts by visiting http://weather.somd.com/ .