This story is being offered for free. Please consider becoming a subscriber to help power our ongoing local coverage.
An excessive heat warning is in place through Friday for much of Middle Tennessee, which is an upgrade from the previous heat advisory, the forecast showed.
Heat index values are now expected to reach between 110 and 115 degrees in the afternoons, according to the National Weather Service Nashville.
"This heatwave is very dangerous and possibly deadly," NWS Nashville tweeted Wednesday morning. "With extreme heat lasting several days, the risk for heat illness increases."
This heatwave is VERY DANGEROUS and possibly DEADLY. With extreme heat lasting several days, the risk for heat illness increases. As we asked yesterday, PLEASE be safe and ensure protections for the most vulnerable. Many areas have been upgraded to an EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING! pic.twitter.com/IunLExiFt9
— NWS Nashville (@NWSNashville) July 6, 2022
It's important to drink plenty of fluids, according to NWS Nashville. Whenever possible, stay in air-conditioned spaces and stay out of the sun. Never leave young children or pets unattended in vehicles.
If you plan to work or spend time outside, take extra precautions. If possible, limit strenuous activities to the early morning and evening hours.
"Overnight lows will only drop into the mid to upper 70s offering little relief," NWS Nashville said.
The forecast also shows a chance of scattered showers and possibly severe storms through the weekend. Damaging winds and heavy rain are the main risks, NWS said.
"Some relief is expected this weekend with less humid and slightly cooler conditions," the forecast said.
The counties included in the excessive heat warning are: Bedford; Cheatham; Davidson; Dickson; Giles; Hickman; Houston; Humphreys; Lawrence; Lewis; Marshall; Maury; Montgomery; Perry; Robertson; Rutherford; Stewart; Sumner; Wayne; Williamson; and Wilson
A heat advisory is in place for several counties in the eastern part of the region, including the Cumberland Plateau. Heat index values up to 110 degrees are expected in the advisory area.
The counties included in the heat advisory are: Cannon; Clay; Coffee; De Kalb; Jackson; Macon; Overton; Pickett; Putnam; Smith; Trousdale; Warren; and White.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency warned residents to be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion symptoms include:
If you or someone you know is showing signs if heat exhaustion, act fast and move to a cooler area, loosen clothing, sip cool water and seek medical help if symptoms do not improve.
Keep in mind that heat exhaustion can also lead to heat stroke.
Heat stroke symptoms include:
Loss of consciousness
If you or someone you know is showing signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately, move to a cooler area, loosen clothing and remove extra layers and cool with water or ice until help arrives.
More information on preparing for and mitigating heat can be found at ready.gov/heat.
Tips to keep pets, children, older adults safe in the heat
OEM also provided a few tips on what to do for children, older adults and pets, who are especially vulnerable to the dire effects of heat.
Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute or if the car is running
Keep your car locked when you are not in it, so kids don't gain access
Create reminders by putting something in the back seat next to your child, such as a briefcase, purse, cell phone or your left shoe
If you see a child alone in a car, call 911
Set a calendar reminder on your electronic device to make sure you dropped your child off at daycare; develop a plan so you will be alerted if your child is late or a no-show
People aged 65 years or older do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Older adults should stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, contact your local health department, or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area like city community centers, libraries and other public buildings.
Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source when it’s extremely hot outside
Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink
If your doctor limits the amount of fluids you drink or has you on water pills, ask them how much you should drink during hot weather
Don’t use the stove or oven to cook — it will make you and your house hotter
Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing
Take cool showers or baths to cool down
Do not engage in very strenuous activities and get plenty of rest
Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you
You should also pay close attention to your pets during the hot and humid days ahead. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals you should know:
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors
Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot
Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
Animals with flat faces, like pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle
When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
Nashville weather radar
Friday: 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after noon, and a 70% chance of showers and thunderstorms between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. Otherwise mostly sunny and hot, with a heat index up to 109. High: 97; Low: 75
Saturday: 60% chance of showers and thunderstorms throughout the day and a 30% chance overnight. Heat index values up to 100. High: 91; Low: 70
Sunday: Sunny. High: 92; Low: 71
Find reporter Rachel Wegner at RAwegner@tennessean.com or on Twitter @rachelannwegner.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Nashville weather: Excessive heat will persist through Friday