WEST MICHIGAN — It's that time of year when you return to your car after a quick trip to the grocery store and find the inside hot, stuffy and uncomfortable.
Perhaps the seats are even burning hot to the touch, and rolling the windows down doesn't make much of a difference. This is a sure sign that summer is right around the corner, but also a sign of the hidden dangers of heat...hot cars.
Did you know that even on a 70-degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach temps near 90? In just 30 minutes, the inside car temp could become as hot as 104 degrees.
This week, we'll have several days around 85 degrees. When it's that hot outside, the inside of your car can reach 104 degrees within 10 minutes and be near 120 degrees by the 30-minute mark. This means it is far too dangerous for any person, child or pet to be left in the vehicle. Even if your plan is to only be away for five minutes, that is too long. Cloudy days and rolling down the windows makes little if any difference.
For example, today I put a thermometer in my car. The outdoor temp was near 80 degrees and it was mostly cloudy. Within 15 minutes the thermometer was sitting at about 110 degrees. Please remember to check the backseat, and on warm days, leave your furry friends at home.
Of course, heat involves more than just the actual number that shows up on the thermometer. The humidity must also be considered. It's the combination of those two numbers that result in the heat index.
When heat indices are projected to reach around 100 degrees for at least two days in a row along with warm overnight temps, a heat advisory may be issued. If the heat is going to be more extreme or last for longer, excessive heat warnings can be issued. This stretch of weather, while warm, will fall short of advisory criteria. It's still smart to take frequent breaks while working or exercising outside, push strenuous work to the early morning or late evening hours, drink plenty of water, and wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Also, remember sunscreen. The sun now is as strong as it is in late July, and sunburn can happen in just minutes.
Stay safe and cool!
For the latest details on the weather in West Michigan, head to the FOX 17 Weather page.