Those hoping for a dry, mild summer were out of luck this year as rainy stretches and humid days have, so far, been in abundance. Today and tomorrow, though, are predicted to be particularly challenging, as temperatures as expected to rise into the 90s.
The National Weather Service (NWS) out of Pittsburgh evens states that Saturday’s heat index values will reach 105 in the afternoon, with actual high temperatures in the mid-90s.
According to the NWS, a heat index value of 105 falls in the “danger” category.
“The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature,” the NWS site states.
They further note that the heat index chart was devised for shady, light wind conditions — so exposure to full sunshine can increase heat index values by up to 15 degrees, they said.
It’s a heat wave that’s continuing right along the trend this month — one that’s also bringing thunderstorms and inevitable rainfall.
And July isn’t the end of it, with The Old Farmer’s Almanac noting that precipitation in August is expected to be substantially higher than normal.
While many of us may be hunkered down in air conditioning during the heatwave, wildlife will also lay low until the sweltering heat passes.
“Deer, and all animals for that matter, are naturally in tune with changes in weather,” according to a report from Grand View Outdoors, which explained the relationship between heat and deer biology.
“Whitetail deer need to spend their time in cool, shady places when temperatures spike. That’s because they don’t sweat like we do. Instead, deer release excess body heat by breathing faster and opening their mouths to expel hot air captured in the blood,” said report author Bob Robb.
“When it is hot, deer risk heatstroke if they don’t minimize their activity during the warmest period of a 24-hour day,” he added.
With even thicker, heavier coats than deer and other animals, black bears will be especially feeling the strain of high temperatures.
“Weather, and in particular high temperature, likely has a strong effect on activity levels and daily activity patterns of animals,” according to the study Effect of Season and High Ambient Temperature on Activity Levels and Patterns of Grizzly Bears published online in the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
“They are large bodied [animals] with relatively short, powerful limbs and do not have sweat glands so are not well suited for heat dissipation,” the study read. “Yet, bears must develop thick under-fur and deposit a substantial layer of fat needed for months of hibernation.”
“Consequently, hot summer and autumn weather should constrain activity,” the study continued.
The report also indicated that black bears typically reduce activity when temperatures are above 74 degrees.
If there’s any small reprieve from the upcoming heat wave, it’s that the Old Farmer’s Almanac has predicted that fall — particularly September and October — will be slightly drier than normal, with near-normal temperatures.
Until that point, though, the NWS warns of temperatures in the 90s throughout the rest of the weekend, and thunderstorms in abundance in the coming weeks.