Dangerous heat wave hits Ohio, Pennsylvania

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usda heat stress map
The USDA's cattle heat stress forecast for Saturday shows much of the area at risk of dangerous to emergency heat. (USDA graphic)

SALEM, Ohio — Rising temperatures forecasted this weekend could pose problems for humans and animals alike.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for all of eastern Ohio from noon July 19 to 8 p.m. July 20.

The heat index, or what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with air temperature, ranges from between 105 to 110 degrees F during that time period.

A heat advisory was also issued for much of western Pennsylvania during that same time. It has been seven years since the region has been under an excessive heat warning, according to the National Weather Service.

The excessive heat and humidity significantly increase the potential for heat-related illness to strike, especially for those outdoors.

People should avoid unnecessary hard work or activities outside or in a building without air conditioning, drink water often and wear light, loose-fitting clothing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s cattle heat-stress forecast also shows the region is at risk of “dangerous” to “emergency” heat stress on July 19 and 20.

The heat stress forecast maps take into account temperature, humidity, wind speed and cloud cover.

Shade, air and water are the three basic ways to combat heat stress in animals. Karl Hoppe, North Dakota State University Extension livestock systems specialist, said adequate drinking water is the first step in relieving heat stress in cattle.

Cows can requires 15 to 30 gallons of water a day, and cattle substantially increase water intake during hot weather. Water intake decreases, though, when water temperature exceeds 80 degrees F.

Farmers should not move animals during extreme heat events and look for signs of heat stress, which include elevated breathing rate, increased time spent standing, restlessness, excessive drooling and open mouth breathing, according to the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

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