Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Virginia experiences dangerous heat Tuesday

Dangerous heat and unhealthy air quality will affect much of central Virginia Tuesday. High temperatures this afternoon will approach record levels from 1991. The record for today's date at Richmond International Airport is 98 degrees. Here are the expected highs across central Virginia this afternoon:

Afternoon heat index values will range 100-105 degrees in central Virginia, but remember the heat index is a value measured in the shade for what your body senses to be the air temperature. When you're in the sunshine, the added effect of radiational heat on your skin will make it feel even hotter, more like 110 degrees this afternoon. And if you get a sunburn, you'll feel even hotter! Wear that sun protection today, especially between 10AM and 4PM, when the UV Index will be maxed out at 10 (Very High).

In addition to the heat threat, there is also a Code Orange Air Quality Alert for the following counties highlighted on this map:

If you must be outdoors today, here are some crucial heat safety tips to keep in mind:

Pay close attention to your kids and to the elderly, as these age groups are more prone to heat-related illnesses. Do not sit in vehicles for even a few minutes without A/C, as temperatures can skyrocket to 130 degrees within a matter of minutes! Even with the windows cracked, dangerous heat can build up inside the vehicle well above 100 degrees.

If you intend to cool off in the James River today, you are required by law to wear a life jacket (because the river level will remain above 5 ft). Here's the forecast for today:

Memorial Day may have been the "unofficial start of Summer," but the Summer Solstice is not until June 21st at 1:16PM EDT. Stay with CBS 6, we'll keep you ahead of the storm.