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Severe Heat

Temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region and last for several weeks are defined as extreme heat. Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a "dome" of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground. Excessively dry and hot conditions can provoke dust storms and low visibility. Droughts occur when a long period passes without substantial rainfall. A heat wave combined with a drought is a very dangerous situation.



  • Increase the amount of nonalcoholic drinks that you consume, despite your activity level. Have a cool beverage before you feel thirsty. Please consult your physician if you have a limit on the amount of daily fluid intake or you are taking water pills.
  • Avoid beverages that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. These types of beverages will cause you to lose more body fluids.
  • When possible, stay inside. If you have access to an air conditioner, use it. Electric fans do not provide relief from heat-related illnesses when temperatures are in the mid 90s and above.
  • Taking a cool shower or bath is a useful way to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave people or pets in parked vehicles, especially with the windows closed.
  • Young children, elderly people, and those who are sick or overweight are at greater risk than others to experience harmful effects of heat.


If you are out in the heat:

  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Limit exercise. Be sure to drink at least two to four glasses of cool liquids every hour.
  • Frequently take breaks under shady areas.
  • There are a number of ways to protect yourself from the sun. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels).

Additional Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal Emergency Management Agency

National Weather Service


Staying Informed

RIT's Emergency Line (recorded message): (585) 475-7075 and (585) 475-7076 TTY