We are officially in the hottest part of summer. Some days it can be absolutely miserable to walk to your car. It feels as though this mugginess and heat will never end. Our average temperature locally in August is 91, but with our heat index, it feels well into the 100s. August is the month when you can plan on having bad hair days and being sticky from the humidity.

The Heat Index sometimes referred to as the apparent temperature, is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature, according to Ambient Weather. When the temperature increases, it causes evaporation which then increases our humidity levels and that is the ‘muggy’ feel to the air. We are surrounded by lakes, rivers, and the coast which is the reason we have some of the higher humidity levels than other parts of the country.

Other than the obvious geographical reasons for our extreme heat we are also facing issues with greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon Dioxide emissions have increased by 2.9 percent since 1990 in the United States according to the Environmental Protection Agency. While Carbon Dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas in our atmosphere there are others involved. These are the gases that trap heat in our atmosphere: Fluorinated gases, Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide. Carbon Dioxide accounts for almost 82% of the total emissions according to the EPA. While it is naturally in our environment, burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal add much more unnecessary Carbon Dioxide into our atmosphere compounding the problem. Until these gasses are limited and regulated more efficiently, the temperatures will continue to increase around the world.

These high temperatures affect our every day lives. Prolonged exposure to the extreme temperatures can cause issues for everyone especially for the elderly. Extensive periods of time in this brutal heat can cause dizziness, excessive sweating, dehydration and a host of other problems, some being serious. Heat exhaustion can happen quickly, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water!

All that being said you can find me in the air condition with my hair up for the rest of the summer.

Grace Johnson is an amateur weather watcher living here in the Lowcountry.