Heat and humidity can make for a dangerous — even deadly — combination. Today is Heat Awareness Day in Iowa.

Jeff Johnson, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service, says Iowans can benefit from a refresher course on the risks of hot weather.

“It’s intended to remind folks that in the summertime in Iowa, particularly in late June, July and early August, that we can have periods of extreme heat and humidity,” Johnson says. “That is actually a public health concern.” Johnson has some simple advice for beating the heat.

“Drinking plenty of water, avoid alcohol, slow down during the day in the heat and do your exercise early in the morning or late in the evening, and dress in light-colored clothes,” he says. “If you know of an elderly person or someone in bad health who doesn’t have air conditioning, be sure and check on them, maybe even encourage them to get to somewhere that does have air conditioning.”

We’re coming off one of the warmest winters –and springs — in Iowa history, so the summer ahead could be steamy. Johnson says last summer wasn’t too brutal. “We didn’t hit 100 in Des Moines but I think we did elsewhere in the state,” he says. “We did have some heat events. One week in July of last year, we had heat advisories out every day for a week. We did have kind of a heat wave. It wasn’t extreme like in ’95 or ’88, but we did have some heat last year.”

The first day of summer is next Wednesday, June 20th. Learn more about Heat Awareness Day at: www.weather.gov/dmx.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City