A look at the heat dome that hit the Delaware Valley

Justin Udo
July 21, 2019 - 12:20 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The hottest stretch of summer has been ripping through the Delaware Valley for the last few days, and this heat brings some unique qualities you should be aware of when you face it.

It's no secret that the Delaware Valley, along with most of the country, is in the middle of a heat wave. But it's a little different than what we're used to seeing, according to CBS 3 Meteorologist Matt Peterson. 

He said this system, known as a heat dome, is something that ensures no relief from the hot temperature. 

"When we get this high pressure that's there for a really long time, it tends to allow the same places to heat up and not really cool down. And when they don't cool down, then you heat up even faster the following day. So you get prolonged periods of high heat and high humidity when you are underneath the heat dome," Peterson explained. 

He said they are nothing new, but they are different from the past.

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"You always have stretches here in Philadelphia where it's been hot, it's been humid, and it's been well above average. But what we're starting to notice is the periods of the high heat and high humidity, they're even hotter and more humid than they used to be and they're happening more often," he said. 

Peterson said he can't reiterate enough the importance of staying hydrated, wearing loose clothing and staying inside under cool air as much as possible.

"If you do have to be outside, short periods of time that is the best thing, 10-15 minutes tops," he said.

He added you need to be on alert for symptoms of heat exhaustion.

"Seeing someone that is suffering from symptoms such as being dizzy, if they faint, if you have excessive sweating, a weak and rapid pulse." 

He said for people experiencing heat exhaustion, get them inside, get a cool compress on their head and neck and make sure they get slow sips of water.

You also run the risk of getting a heat stroke when facing a heat wave if you aren't properly taking care of yourself.  

"You usually end up with a bad headache, you don't sweat at all. You'll have dry skin, you could be nauseous, and unfortunately the other symptom is falling unconscious," he explained. 

If that happens, call 911 to get help.