The unseasonably mild weather Galveston County residents have been enjoying lately came to a sweltering end Friday when the National Weather Service issued its third heat advisory of the summer.
Heat indexes, which measure how hot it actually feels by accounting for temperature and humidity, are projected to stay at dangerous levels through Thursday, according to the weather service.
And locals shouldn’t expect the heat to let up much after that, either, said Kent Prochazka, a meteorologist working in the weather service’s League City office.
“If you like today, you’re going to like the rest of the month,” Prochazka said Friday.
Extremely high temperatures are expected to continue through Aug. 25 and will likely drop off after, he said.
Across much of southeast Texas on Friday, the heat index was slated to reach between 107 and 112 degrees by 4 p.m., according to the weather service.
Galveston’s heat index was forecast to be slightly lower, at 103 degrees.
As the area enters the hottest time of year, county and city emergency management officials have continued to promote safety in the extreme heat.
Heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses are always possible as temperatures climb higher and higher, said Hannah O’Donohoe, a pediatrician at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature, hot skin, a fast pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and loss of consciousness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with these symptoms are always encouraged to call 911, according to the CDC.
About 618 people yearly in the United States are killed by extreme heat, according to CDC reports.
“As I always tell parents, be vigilant,” O’Donohoe said. “You have to watch your kids, watch how they’re acting.”
The Galveston area can expect slightly lower temperatures than Houston throughout the month, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be cautious, Prochazka said. Dew points, or the level of atmospheric moisture, tend to get high in Galveston, even early in the day.
“Especially in the morning, down on the island it’s not uncommon to have a dew point of 80 degrees,” Prochazka said. “The water down there has really gotten warmed up.”
Biology makes it difficult to overcome heat when it’s more humid, O’Donohoe said.
“When the humidity is higher, sweating isn’t as effective at cooling the body,” she said.
While the weather service is encouraging people to get out of the heat, some cities are welcoming people, especially those without air conditioning, into public buildings.
The city of Galveston, for example, doesn’t have an official “heat shelter,” but people are more than welcome to use public buildings as a place of refuge, city spokeswoman Jaree Fortin said.
“We would encourage anyone who needs to take a break from the extreme heat to seek shelter at any of the public facilities on the island including the two recreation centers or the library,” she said.
The weather service also is urging people in the region to drink water before going outside, take breaks in the shade or indoors, drink water while outside and wear light colors. Dogs and children shouldn’t be left in cars, either.
“You really need to be taking those frequent breaks and go into a cool place,” Prochazka said. “If you go out, get well-hydrated before you go.”