HeatRisk mapping tool helps you prepare for heat wave

Posted: Updated:
(Source: National Weather Service and 3TV/CBS5) (Source: National Weather Service and 3TV/CBS5)
How to use the HeatRisk mapping tool. Click image to enlarge. (Source: National Weather Service) How to use the HeatRisk mapping tool. Click image to enlarge. (Source: National Weather Service)
Click image to enlarge (Source: National Weather Service) Click image to enlarge (Source: National Weather Service)
Haga clic en la imagen para ampliar. (Source:Servicio Nacional de Meteorología) Haga clic en la imagen para ampliar. (Source:Servicio Nacional de Meteorología)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

With serious heat on the horizon – Phoenix, along with much of the state, will be under an Excessive Heat Warning Saturday through Wednesday – preparation is key.

The National Weather Service has created the experimental HeatRisk forecast to help you on that front.

The map gives you a color-coded look at the heat risk potential up to seven days out.

[RELATED: Monsoon 2017 starts as epic heat wave rolls in]

[READ MORE: It's going to be a scorcher! Heat wave headed to Phoenix]

[SPECIAL SECTION: Extreme Heat]

“The heat risk is portrayed in a numeric (0-4) and color (green/yellow/orange/red/magenta) scale which is similar in approach to the Air Quality Index (AQI) or the UV Index,” the website explains. “In a similar way, it provides one value each day that indicates the approximate level of heat risk concern for any location, along with identifying the groups who are most at risk.”

The tool is designed to work in conjunction with NWS watches and warnings and “is meant to provide continuously available heat risk guidance for those decision makers and heat sensitive populations ….”

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Heat sensitives groups include:

  • The elderly and the very young;
  • Those on certain medications and/or those with preexisting conditions which make them more sensitive to heat (your doctor can let you know if this is you);
  • Those working outdoors -- especially new workers, temporary workers, or those returning to work after a week or more off;
  • Those exercising or doing strenuous activities outdoors during the heat of the day - especially those not used to the level of heat expected, those who are not drinking enough fluids, or those new to that type of activity;
  • Those without a reliable source of cooling and/or hydration;
  • Those not acclimated to the level of heat expected - especially those who are new to a much warmer climate
  • Some economic sectors are also affected by increasing levels of heat, such as energy and transportation.

[NWS: Common heat-releated illnesses]

Putting the right information in the right hands at the right time allows individuals and communities "to be better prepared to upcoming heat events."

Knowledge is power, and it can save lives.

Excessive heat is dangerous, potentially deadly.

Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in Arizona and the U.S., according to Will Humble, the director of the Division of Health Policy and Program Evaluation the University of Arizona’s Health Sciences Center. Heat kills more people than tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and wildfires -- combined.

"It’s hard to take a picture of heat so it gets less attention than things like floods, lightning, hurricanes and tropical storms," said Humble, former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. "The Arizona heat is a lot more than a nuisance – it’s dangerous and lethal."

The temperatures we’re expecting will likely be added to the record books as some of the hottest days Phoenix has ever seen

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