With extreme heat and humidity in the forecast over the next few days and an excessive heat watch in effect Thursday, Aug. 12, Loudoun County leaders are advising residents to take precautions against dangerously hot conditions, which could include heat indices up to 110 degrees.
In addition, isolated severe storms and flash flooding are possible.
County officials advise people to protect themselves against the heat by spending as much time in air-conditioned locations as possible. Places like Loudoun County Public Library branches, Loudoun County community centers and recreation centers, malls and other public buildings can offer some relief to people who don’t have air conditioning in their homes. Currently, county facilities and some businesses are requiring face coverings indoors.
As always, drink plenty of water, and during the heat, if going outside in the heat, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and avoid strenuous activity.
Check on your neighbors. Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but people ages 65 and older and very young children are more susceptible to the effects of high heat and humidity.
To be ready for storms, check for weather updates at weather.gov/lwx and on the National Weather Service Facebook and Twitter. If a storm is coming, to limit damage and danger, residents should secure any loose objectsoutsidein your yard or on a deck, such as umbrellas, bins, tools and toys. Trees and branches should also be kept trimmed, especially houses.
And in the event of flooding, “turn around, don’t drown.” Drivers should not try to drive through flooded roadways—even one foot of moving water can sweep a vehicle away, and it can be impossible to judge how deep a flooded roadway is. More information about staying safe from storms is online at loudoun.gov/storm.
And remember—animals feel the heat too. Don’t leave pets in cars, and monitor animals frequently to make sure they’re not suffering.
According to Loudoun County Animal Services, even on a 70 degree day, a car’s internal temperature can reach 90 degrees in ten minutes and 110 degrees within an hour. On a 90 degree day, the car will quickly heat to over 110 degrees, and leaving car windows cracked does not prevent cars from getting dangerously hot.
Loudoun County Animal Services responds to around 150 reports of pets locked in hot cars every year, and dozens of reports of pets without adequate shelter. Hot weather can turn deadly for animals, and state law requires owners to provide adequate shelter to protect pets—and a doghouse without shade may not count.
Avoid asphalt in the summer, which can burn paws, and instead walk pets on grass or dirt trails whenever possible.
And, as with people, Loudoun Animal Services advises that heat impacts individual pets differently. Pets are most at risk for heat stroke when they are very old, very young, overweight, or if they have heart or respiratory disease. Breeds with short muzzles like boxers, pugs, bulldogs, shih tzus, and other short-muzzled dogs or cats have a much harder time breathing and cooling off in hot weather.