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Jul-10-2007 06:48printcomments

Oregon, Washington Under Excessive Heat Watch Today, Wednesday

Triple digit temperatures are expected for most of Oregon today and Wednesday.

capitol mall photo
With temperatures expected to reach over 100 degrees in the Salem-area Tuesday and Wednesday the Capitol Mall Fountains will be busy with kids trying to beat the heat.
Photo: Kevin Hays

(SALEM, Ore. ) - The National Weather Service in Portland has issued an Excessive Heat Watch from Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening.

A strong ridge of high pressure in combination with offshore East winds are expected to produce the hottest day of the year so far across nearly all of Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon.

Temperatures inland could be close to 100 Degrees on Tuesday while temperatures at the coast are expected to range from the 80s to near 90 degrees.

The offshore flow will keep temperatures very warm for most of oregon overnight Tuesday.

Temperatures will fall only into the upper 50s and 60s just for a short time around sunrise on Wednesday.

The record high temperature for Salem on Tuesday is 107 degrees set in 1926.

An Excessive Heat Watch means that a prolonged period of hot temperatures is expected.

The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible.

Drink plenty of fluids; stay in an air-conditioned room; stay out of the sun; and check-up on relatives, neighbors, the elderly and the very young. Avoid strenuous exercise during the heat of the day.

Here are other tips for staying safe in the heat:

Stay Well Hydrated: • Aim for two to three quarts of fluid per day. • Water is good, but don't limit your intake to just water. You also need electrolytes, which you can get from a variety of sports drinks. • Caffeine beverages and sodas with caffeine dehydrate you. Since the goal is to stay well hydrated, stay away from caffeine. • If you're thirsty, you've waited too long. • One way to tell if you're getting enough fluid is to look at your urine. In general, it should be clear. Yellow urine means you need to drink more water, unless it is affected by food, vitamin or medication intake. • Limit alcohol intake during hot weather. It doesn't count toward your water consumption and it can impair your judgment.

Be Smart About Your Outdoor Activities: • Unless your job requires you to be outdoors, stay inside. • If you have to be outdoors, avoid strenuous activities between the hottest times of the day, typically 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. • If you need to be outdoors, prime the pump before you go. In other words, start your fluid intake before you take your first step outside. • Wear sun block and a hat. • Use a water spritzer to cool off. Battery-operated, hand-held fans may also be helpful.

Some People Need Extra Precautions: • "Before the day is over, call your mom and check on her," says Sherri Wood, R.N., emergency department director. High heat can cause people to be confused. So be sure to check on your elderly relatives or neighbors to see how they're doing. • The very young and the elderly are most susceptible to thermal-regulation problems. Their bodies simply have a harder time regulating heat. They especially should avoid the outdoors and manage their fluid intake. This is also true for people with chronic illnesses, like those on dialysis. • Children can become dehydrated much more quickly than adults. Be sure they get enough fluid and follow all heat and sun-safety procedures. • Don't overdress your newborn. If you're wearing a tank top and shorts, then a similar outfit for your baby is appropriate, whether it be a shorts outfit or simply a t-shirt and diaper. Stay in the shade. Use a lukewarm washcloth to cool baby. And carry a blanket to protect the baby when you enter air-conditioned extremes. • Some medications can cause problems during heat spells, particularly some psychiatric medications and diuretics. Talk with your pharmacist if you have concerns.

Be Safe In The Water: • When it gets hot, you may be tempted to jump in the river to cool off. Be careful. Remember, Oregon rivers are cold, even on hot days. • Wear a life jacket on the boat and in the river. • Do not consume alcohol. • Children need close parental supervision in the water, as do some people who have mental or physical disabilities. • If you have a home pool, make sure it has a fence around it.

Warning Signs And What To Do If You Experience Them: • Heat illness progresses through three stages: heat cramps, then exhaustion, then heat stroke. If you experience heat cramps, you'll have muscle cramps and feel dizzy. You need to get in the shade and use a cold compress and take fluids. • In heat exhaustion, you'll sweat profusely, and be pale. You need to get in the shade, and use a cold compress and fluids. IV fluids may be needed. • "If you are having a heat stroke, you will be very pale and have a fever. You won't be able to sweat and you will be mentally confused. Your body core temperature has gotten too high. Call 9-1-1!," says Joseph Kenoyer, M.D., an emergency physician with Salem Hospital.

Heat related illness can cause serious problems. You can reduce your chance of feeling tired or becoming seriously ill with a few simple steps.

"Before taking a plunge, take a look."

That advice is now at the top of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department's list of beach safety tips for visitors to the Oregon coast, especially for those tempted to take a dip in the ocean.

OPRD's beach and recreation safety coordinator, Robert Smith, said increasing reports of swimmers falling victim to rip currents have become a concern for coastal public safety officials as they gear up for another onslaught of visitors escaping a valley heat wave.

"Rip currents are the number one danger on the Oregon coast right now," said Smith. "There has been one missing swimmer and multiple swimmers who had to be rescued from rip currents on the north coast."

Smith explained that rip currents are "fast moving rivers of water flowing out to sea." The currents can be formed by large amounts of water trapped after washing onto any of Oregon's beaches, but are especially prevalent near jetties and headlands. "They are unpredictable and can pull unwary swimmers out to sea."

Choppy dark water and debris floating out to sea serve as warnings of rip currents. "You should avoid areas where those conditions exist," Smith advised. "If you become caught in a rip current, though, don't panic. Swim parallel to the beach until you are out of the rip, then swim back to the beach."

People who cannot swim should tread water and call for help, Smith added. "Never fight against the current," he said. "Rips currents travel faster and are stronger than even the best swimmers."

Smith added that beach visitors always need to be alert to dangers other than rip currents. "It all boils down to respect for the ocean," said Smith. "All you have to do is use common sense: stay away from logs, check tide tables, stay behind fences on cliffs and never turn your turn back on the ocean."

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Kit July 9, 2007 2:43 pm (Pacific time)

I agree with the two other commenters. Salem-News is a gem of a site. No pop ups and more information in their articles. Thanks for creating this news site!

cecil July 9, 2007 11:59 am (Pacific time)

Why bother with the SJ? Thank you to Salem News for an alternative to the rag. Now that I have found your site, I have one less thing to detest about Salem (crap newspaper).

Gary Rice July 9, 2007 10:29 am (Pacific time)

People need to call the Statesman Journal and complain about their invasive pop up ads. These things inject viruses and spyware, plus you can't do anything without a pop up ad covering up what you are trying to see. Sorry for the rant, I just can't believe the difference between you guys and them.

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