Summer doesn’t actually arrive until June 21st but this holiday weekend is usually considered the start of the summer season. Jeff Johnson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says his office is going to be recognizing the state’s first-ever Heat Awareness Day next week.

Johnson says the weather service has two basic tools it uses to warn Iowans about the extreme heat. “A heat advisory is when we’re having conditions at above 100-degrees on the heat index and the heat index combines temperature and humidity,” Johnson says. “The second is a heat danger warning and that’s when we’re looking at above 110, 115 on the heat index. That’s a condition where you really need to take it easy and stay in air conditioning.”

He says people can’t try to ignore the heat and carry on with their regular chores as it could land them in the hospital with heat stroke, or worse. “One of the things we need to consider is, of course, staying inside during the heat of the day,” Johnson says. “If you’re outside, drink plenty of water. Avoid the alcohol because that actually causes more problems. Slow down in the heat of the day, not a good time to go out for the daily jog at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.”

For people whose jobs require them to be in the daytime sun, Johnson says there are a few tips they can follow to make the heat a little more tolerable. If you’re going to be outside, he says to wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and wear sunscreen to avoid a burn.

If you know elderly people, very young people or even somewhere there might be pets that are shut in, check on them and make sure they’re okay, especially if they don’t have air conditioning or don’t want to pay for switching it on.

The state’s first Heat Awareness Day is scheduled for June 10th as a way to better educate Iowans on how to beat the oppressive heat. Learn more at

Thanks to Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City