- Heat kills by
pushing the human body beyond its limits. Under normal conditions,
the body's internal thermostat produces perspiration that evaporates
and cools the body. However, in the extreme heat and high humidity
common in Louisiana, evaporation is slowed and the body must work
extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.
- Most heat disorders
occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has over
exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Other
conditions that can induce heat-related illnesses include stagnant
atmospheric conditions and poor air quality.
- A prolonged drought
can have a serious economic impact on a community. Increased demand
for water and electricity may result in shortages of resources.
Moreover, food shortages may occur if agricultural production is
damaged or destroyed by a loss of crops or livestock.
WHAT IS EXTREME HEAT?
Temperatures that hover
10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region and
last for several weeks are defined as extreme heat. Humid or muggy
conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when
a "dome" of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the
ground. Excessively dry and hot conditions can provoke dust storms and
low visibility. Droughts occur when a long period passes without
substantial rainfall. A heat wave combined with a drought is a very