Officials say heat danger far from over

The scorching heat killed a dozen people in Memphis over the last 10 days.  The "why" is a complicated question to answer.

On vacation all the way from San Antonio, Texas, the Van De Walle's are still adjusting to Memphis weather.

Phil Baker is a forecaster at the National Weather Service, an office that initiates heat advisories and warnings. According to Baker, the danger heat level relies on several factors. The first factor is the heat index.

It's intensified by the number of people without air conditioners, population density, and a phenomena known as the Urban Heat Island Effect.

"Other cities have it as well, Atlanta, Dallas. And we typically just don't cool down as much as at night because of all the concrete. It soaks up the sun during the day and then re-radiates it at night," said Baker.

The extreme conditions can be deadly. According to Doctor Helen Morrow at the health department, certain health conditions leave some more susceptible to the heat.

"Two of the big ones that we deal with here are heart disease and diabetes. Some of the medications used to treat these put you at greater risk," said Morrow.

While the weather feels better today, Health department officials say the danger is still around. They ask you continue to keep yourself safe from the heat.

"We want to remind people to check on their neighbors. We need to act as a community," said Morrow. "I think it's just a continuation of what we've already been doing. Reminding people to be careful about their activites. Limit strenuous activities to the cooler pasrt of the day. Drink plenty of water," she added.

The health department continues to push cooling centers at carious senior and community centers throughout the county.

MATA is giving free rides to those centers. And they're still handing out fans to seniors and those with disabilities.


to email Nick Kenney.