For the past few weeks, Louisiana residents have been dealing with sweltering conditions. While that's not unusual for July, the temperatures have actually been hotter than normal. That has prompted the National Weather Service to issue heat watches, heat warnings, and heat advisories. 


Many of you have asked, "What's the difference between a heat advisory and just plain old hot?" That's a very good question because at first blush or should we say first sweat, there really doesn't appear to be a whole lot that separates the two lines of thinking.

Probably the most elementary explanation that we can offer has to do with two aspects of our weather. One has to do with the duration of the excessive heat on a daily basis. The other has to do with how much that atmosphere cools during the nighttime hours.

Temperatures Soar To Highest Of The Year
(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Granted there does seem to be some "splitting of hairs" in some of the definitions but here's how the Weather Service categorizes the various "heat" advisories, watches, and warnings. And yes, just like severe storms and tornadoes there is such a thing as an "excessive heat watch".

The National Weather Service defines "Excessive Heat" as a heat index value of 105 degrees or higher for at least two days. During that time the nighttime temperature will not drop below 80 degrees. That's how it's defined for Louisiana. Other parts of the country where high summertime temperatures are not the norm might have lower thresholds for a warning to be issued.

A Heat Advisory as defined by the Weather Service actually uses slightly lower threshold temperatures and generally targets a more specific time frame. For example, almost all of Louisiana is under a Heat Advisory today.

The National Weather Service office in Lake Charles is expecting heat indices across to be above 105 degrees along and north of the US 190 corridor. The advisory will be in effect from Noon to 7 pm. You'll notice the advisory ends about the time the sun goes down. And the nighttime temperatures are expected to drop below the 80-degree threshold.

What the above graphic doesn't show is just how widespread the heatwave actually is. Here is a regional map from the National Weather Service, the orange is hot, and the purple is hotter than that. I'd hate to be in Oklahoma, but I'd say that on a beautiful fall day too.


The bottom line is simply about making and keeping you aware of dangerous weather conditions. Heat can be a killer across Louisiana and by adding the extra emphasis on how extreme conditions could be, the hope is to make you aware and willing to alter your plans to stay out of harm's way.

Or you can be stupid and attempt one of these.

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