The threshold for heat warnings and advisories will lower next week.

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 5:48 PM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - We are six weeks away from the official start of summer.

Soon, a lot of us will be going outside to enjoy the warmer temperatures.

While outdoors, you want to make sure to take steps to protect yourself from the rising temperatures and it’s vital to know when the heat can become dangerous.

One of the ways meteorologists communicate the danger is through heat advisories and excessive heat warnings, and on Monday, some of our area will see a change in the criteria for these warnings.

Phil Hysell the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Blacksburg said “The current criteria is Excessive Heat Warnings would be issued when heat indices are expected to reach 110 or higher, with the Heat Advisory from 105 - 109. Those are going to be lowered by five degrees.”

This change means there is now consistency among all West Virginia counties. Prior to the change, Mercer, Summers, Monroe, and Greenbrier were the only counties to have a different threshold.

The change of heat indices of at least 100 degrees for Heat Advisories and 105 degrees for Excessive Heat Warnings also applies to our Virginia counties.

The need for this is due to the impacted counties rarely experiencing temperatures get that high.

Phil says “So if you look at the climatology, we started looking at the values in terms of what heat indices were in Bluefield and Lewisburg. And, since 1972, there had not been a documented occurrence of heat indices reaching a hundred and ten degrees, yet we know, that there are people being treated for heat related illnesses.”

The heat index is a measure of how hot it feels outside.

With high humidity, the evaporation of sweat slows down.

This results in your body feeling much hotter.

Adequate hydration is your best weapon and defense against heat injury.