Columbia and Union counties are part of an “excessive heat warning” issued early Saturday by the National Weather Service in Shreveport.
The warning also includes Ashley and Chicot counties in South Arkansas, and most of North Central and Northeast Louisiana. The balance of the region is under a heat advisory.
The excessive heat warning will be in effect from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Dangerously hot conditions with heat index values up to 114 degrees are expected.
Extreme heat and humidity will significantly increase the potential for heat related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.
An upper-level ridge will maintain mostly dry conditions with temperatures forecast to climb into the mid to upper 90s Saturday afternoon. Dewpoint temperatures will remain in the upper 70s in areas east of a line from Magnolia south to Natchitoches, LA. This will result in heat index values above 110 degrees for several hours this afternoon.
The NWS advises people to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.
People working or spending time outdoors should take extra precautions. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency – call 911.
Very hot temperatures in the middle to upper 90s are expected Saturday afternoon. When combined with the high humidity levels, maximum heat index readings will range between 110 to 115 degrees.
By later this evening and overnight, a thunderstorm complex shifting south from the Plains may reach into northern sections of the Four State area with some of the storms potentially posing a threat of damaging winds.
Highs are forecast to reach the middle to upper 90s through the upcoming weekend and into next week. With high afternoon humidity, heat index values will continue to reach 105 to 110 degrees and possibly higher.
Heat advisory conditions are expected to continue through the foreseeable future and possibly warranting an upgrade to an excessive heat warning over some parts of the region later this weekend and into much of next week.