With the weather forecast calling for temperatures in the 90s, high humidity and a chance of thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts throughout the week, Loudoun County officials are advising residents to prepare and take precautions to prevent heat-related illness and possible storm damage.
To keep safe in the heat wave, officials advise spending as much time in air-conditioned places as possible, pointing out that Loudoun County Public Library branches, Loudoun community and recreation centers, malls and other public buildings can offer some relief to people who don’t have air conditioning in their homes.
As always, drink plenty of water, and during the heat, if going outside in the heat, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and avoid strenuous activity.
Check on your neighbors. Anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, but people ages 65 and older and very young children are more susceptible to the effects of high heat and humidity.
More information about staying safe in excessive heat is online at loudoun.gov/heat.
To be ready for storms, check for weather updates at weather.gov/lwx and on the National Weather Service Facebook and Twitter. If a storm is coming, to limit damage and danger, residents should secure any loose objects outside in your yard or on a deck, such as umbrellas, bins, tools and toys. Trees and branches should also be kept trimmed, especially houses.
And in the event of flooding, turn around, don’t drown. Drivers should not try to drive through flooded roadways—even one foot of moving water can sweep a vehicle away, and it can be impossible to judge how deep a flooded roadway is. More information about staying safe from storms is online at loudoun.gov/storm.
And remember—animals feel the heat too. Don’t leave pets in cars, and monitor animals frequently to make sure they’re not suffering.
According to Loudoun County Animal Services, even on a 70 degree day, a car’s internal temperature can reach 90 degrees in ten minutes and 110 degrees within an hour. On a 90 degree day, the car will quickly heat to over 110 degrees, and leaving car windows cracked does not prevent cars from getting dangerously hot.
Loudoun County Animal Services responds to around 150 reports of pets locked in hot cars every year, and dozens of reports of pets without adequate shelter. Hot weather can turn deadly for animals, and state law requires owners to provide adequate shelter to protect pets—and a doghouse without shade may not count.
Avoid asphalt in the summer, which can burn paws, and instead walk pets on grass or dirt trails whenever possible.
And, as with people, Loudoun Animal Services advises that heat impacts individual pets differently. Pets are most at risk for heat stroke when they are very old, very young, overweight, or if they have heart or respiratory disease. Breeds with short muzzles like boxers, pugs, bulldogs, shih tzus, and other short-muzzled dogs or cats have a much harder time breathing and cooling off in hot weather.
Pet owners should contact a veterinarian immediately if their pet exhibits heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, vomiting, unsteadiness or a staggering gait, a deep red or purple tongue, or fever. The normal temperature range in dogs is 101-102 degrees, and in cats is 99.5-102.5 degrees.
If you suspect your pet is suffering ill effects from high heat, you can also use ice packs, cold towels, or apply cool water to the head, neck and chest, let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes, and move your pet into the shade or air conditioning. Pet owners should not try to cool their pet by dunking them in cool water, which can drop their body temperature too quickly and send them into shock.
And if you see a pet left unattended in a hot car, animal services advises, you should note the make, model, color, license plate number and location of the vehicle or address, and call Loudoun County Animal Services at 703-777-0406 or Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department non-emergency line at 703-777-1021. You can also notify the store manager and ask that the owner of the pet be paged, and if possible, stay until an Animal Control Officer arrives to help them locate the pet quickly.