As the seasons change in the state of Minnesota, the weather changes too, sometimes rapidly and drastically in a matter of a day. Changing weather patterns can lead to destruction, injury, and even fatality. Unfortunately, we can’t simply stay in our homes and wait for the storms to pass. Many of us still travel to and from work and some work in the elements despite the intense weather conditions. For the most part, there are ways to travel and work safely in spite of the inclement weather. Here are some things to consider to help you stay safe as we transition from spring to summer:
Across the country floods claim approximately 200 lives every year. About 300,000 additional people lose their homes and possessions during flooding and the property damage comes to more than $2 billion annually. In Minnesota more people are killed by flooding than any other form of inclement weather. It is estimated that the majority of victims will lose the battle against a flood while they are driving during a storm.
The best way to avoid being wounded or killed by a flood is to avoid driving during flash flooding. If you are expected to drive to or from work or even for work it is important to understand the dangers of being in a car during this type of storm.
If you must drive during flash flooding, listen to the radio and be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to updates and alerts from your local weather service.
Also, never attempt to drive down a road that has been closed or barricaded due to flash flooding. There is no way for you to be certain how deep the water is and you won’t know how hazardous the current is until you are in it. It only takes about six inches of water to cause the average passenger car to lose control. Pick a different route.
June 21st marks the first day of summer and summer marks the beginning of a long stretch of heat waves. During a 10-year period from 2000 to 2010, 35 fatalities in Minnesota were linked to extreme heat. The National Weather Service cautions that anywhere above 80 degrees warrants taking precautions, dependent upon the humidity levels that day. Extreme precautions must be taken after the temperature exceeds 126 degrees.
Knowing who is at risk can help protect the community when the heat takes hold. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to heat-related health complications. Keeping an eye on those in your neighborhood could save a life.
Furthermore, hydration is key. A leading cause of heat related illness is dehydration. Working in the elements leads to excessive perspiration as the body tries to cool itself down. Without replenishing your body’s source of water the risks of heat exhaustion become a reality.
Finally, be realistic about what can be accomplished during extreme heat and attempt to schedule your outdoor tasks around the warmest parts of the day. Starting your work before the sun comes up or after the sun goes down could mean the difference between a job well done and a day in the emergency room.