Briones: Heat index going through the roof

On the go
Publio J. Briones III
Publio J. Briones III

I have a running joke with the universe regarding the weather. Unfortunately, everyone else is laughing except me because, as it turns out, I am on the receiving end of the gag.

I mean, how many times have I ranted about the heat and the lack of water and other things association with the dry weather condition only to have it backfire on me the very next day?

You know what I mean?

I point out temperatures, cite meteorological facts that, frankly, I only understand on the surface, and basically complain about how hot it is.

And then, the next day, boom; it rains.

I feel like a fool sometimes, pontificating on top of my moral pedestal about this and that about the effects of an extremely high heat index and whatnot, but what the universe doesn’t know is that I’m on to its antics.

Yes. I see you, universe. And you’re not going to one-up me this time. Oh no. I’m not having it.

People who are basking in the sunshine somewhere in a tropical islet are probably shaking their head, wondering what the heck I am talking about.

Or people who have locked themselves in their air-conditioned rooms might find me crazy.

But get this, Jhomer Eclarino, a state meteorologist at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Visayas, has warned the public that the heat index in Cebu in the coming months may go up as high as the “dangerous” 51 degrees Celsius.

Before I continue and you accuse me of being a fearmongerer or a provocateur, “dangerous” is Jhomer’s word not mine.

And yes, we’re on a first-name basis since I’m using him as a reference. I don’t like to be too formal with my reference person because I’d like to think I can trust the person considering I am spewing out facts based on what that person has said based on his or her expertise.

You know what I mean.

But who cares about my relationship with Jhomer, or lack of, since I don’t know the guy nor have I ever met him.

But for the sake of this column, which, I promise, is going somewhere, I’m going to continue to talk about the heat index.

Now, shall we address the elephant in the room?

The heat index, according to Pagasa, is the feels-like temperature, or a combination of air temperature and humidity to indicate how hot the weather feels to the human body.


Still doesn’t ring a bell?

Well how about this from the National Weather Service of the United States? According to it, heat index, “also known as apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.”

Are we now all in the same wavelength? Good.

Before I digress, Jhomar actually explained that a heat index ranging from 42 to 51 degrees Celsius is dangerous because it will likely cause a person to suffer from heat cramps and exhaustion. And to those stupid enough who insist on engaging in outdoor activities in this heat, they can be candidates of a heat stroke.

If they don’t receive any emergency treatment, heat stroke victims may end up with a permanent disability, or, worst, end up dead.

As you all know, we are in the throes of an El Niño weather phenomenon, which is causing all of this. Plus summer in the country officially started last March 22. That’s how bad the situation is.

Unfortunately, before things can get any better, it will get worst. And yes, I chose the superlative form of bad twice to emphasize the seriousness of it all.

Dr. Eugenia Mercedes Cañal, regional epidemiologist of the Department of Health 7, advised the public to observe safety measures, and urged the public to avoid going outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., especially during peak hours when the highest heat index is felt.

For those who have no choice, she urged them to put on sunscreen and drink plenty of water. However, she had no advice for those who could not afford to buy sunscreen and drinking water.

I guess they can try to seek shade wherever they can find it. Or they can hope and pray that their body has grown immune or has adapted to the effects of the intense heat.

Meanwhile, I think I have rambled enough to catch the attention of the universe.

Other cultures may have their rain dance, but I have my taunt-the-universe-in-the-face rant. Hopefully that will do the trick.

Why not prove me wrong yet again for the umpteenth time, eh!


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