TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay area will see above-average temperatures this week.
Ross Giarratana, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Tampa Bay, said dust from the Sahara Desert is partially to blame.
“We expect the peak of this, these dangerously warm temperatures, these high heat index values, to really peak today and both Thursday," Ross Giarratana said. “Throughout the summer months, we see these areas of dust emerge off of Northern Africa, they move across the tropical Atlantic waters, parts of the Caribbean, gulf of Mexico.”
Giarratana said that this dry air has its perks.
“It's a good thing as far as tropical development is concerned," Giarratana added.
It's a good thing considering hurricanes love moist atmospheres but one climatologist told ABC Action News that the concern is the heat as it can be just as dangerous and just as deadly.
“Heat waves don't have the same gravitas. We don't evacuate people for heat waves, for example. And so, they're still sort of marked as silent killers. And so, you know, the average of hurricane deaths to heatwave deaths now is probably more than 10 to one for heat,” Bob Bunting, the CEO of Sarasota Climate Adaptation Center, said.
Last year in the U.S. there were 12 tropical storms and hurricane deaths while 190 people died from the heat, according to the National Weather Service.
“The global climate has warmed at 2.3 degrees already, Fahrenheit. So that means that we're getting less cool air penetrating Florida and so we're getting longer periods of hot humid weather," Bunting added.
Because of that, Bunting said it’s crucial people limit their outdoor activity, take breaks inside somewhere cool if you work outdoors and make staying hydrated a priority.