Staying cool for your Missouri summer requires some extra effort on your part. Residents are reminded to be aware of the dangers posed by the extreme heat and humidity and to take precautions as they spend time outdoors.

Summers in Missouri can be dangerous for vulnerable people groups like children, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.

“Just take precautions,” said Jayson Gosselin, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in St. Louis. “Try to limit your outdoor activity. If you do have to go outside. Make sure you bring and drink plenty of water. Wear white or light-colored clothing, things like that to protect yourself from the heat. Take frequent breaks in the shade. Again, try to be indoors as much as possible.”

When outside, he said you should wear light colored clothing.

“The difference between a white shirt and a black shirt, you can notice it,” Gosselin stated. “If you’re outside for 15-20 minutes and you had the white shirt on, and you’ll probably not feel quite as hot. You put a black shirt on and come out, half an hour later, and spend that same time in the sun, it absorbs a lot of that heat. You can feel the difference.”

Keep an eye out for the heat index, especially if the weather calls for heat and humidity.

“The heat index is basically how it feels on the human body,” Gosselin explained. “The higher humidity, the higher the heat index. The lower humidity values, the lower the heat index. Most of the time here in the summer, our heat index is usually a little bit above the temperature, but it varies. Even if it’s a really humid air mass, that heat index could be five, six, seven degrees above the air temperature.”

If you do not have air conditioning, consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, movie theaters, shopping malls, or other community facilities. Summers in Missouri can also be dangerous for vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Most of all, make it a summer that you’ll never forget. That includes not forgetting your child or pet in the car.

“Even temperatures in the 70s and 80s, the windows are up in a car, the temperatures in the car will soar 20-30 degrees or more above the air temperature outside,” warned Gosselin. “So yes, that’s definitely unsafe to ever do that.”

Stress, distraction and being out of a normal routine can all contribute to forgetting a child or a pet in a car. Always look before you lock and check the back seat each time you exit your vehicle.

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