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Storms Roll Through As Long Stretch Of Hot Weather Begins Taking Toll

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- This string of hot weather is creating plenty of challenges; first, it churned more stormy weather across the region this afternoon, and it's also just unpleasant and downright dangerous for anyone outside for too long.

When the storms rolled through this afternoon, the National Weather Service issued numerous watches and warnings for Allegheny County and surrounding counties.

The storms brought heavy downpours, lightning and high winds. But KDKA Chief Meteorologist Jeff Verszyla says by the early evening hours, the fast-moving line of storms should be out of the area.

"An early evening thunderstorm chance, maybe late afternoon, because by early evening, it should be gone, then partly cloudy, mild and muggy," said Verszyla. "There could be a little patchy fog late tonight."

He says Tuesday will be a little less humid, but with temperatures still in the upper 80s, it won't be much of a cool down.

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And with the heat baking the city these last few days, working outside has been less than desirable, but it is rarely optional for many.

"I got two kids, 12 and 14, and I've got to take care of them," said Taylor Williams, of the North Side.

Williams is one of the workers giving the North Side Café Mocha a facelift, and as the sweat rolled down his back Monday afternoon, he said the heat is just part of the job.

"Lots of water in your system and just pray you don't fall off the ladder," he said.

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Of course, you don't have to be doing outdoor work for this kind of heat to get to you, and ignoring the warning signs could be very dangerous.

"In extreme heat, which is heat stroke, you could die," says Dr. Tom Campbell, the chief of the emergency room at Allegheny General Hospital.

It's not something to mess with. But what's the difference between being hot and uncomfortable and being medically in trouble?

"When you're getting extremely thirsty, you start to feel a little lightheaded and fatigued, those are the first early signs," says Dr. Campbell.

Ignore those signs and eventually you'll pass out, and then it becomes a medical challenge.

So if you feel it coming on, the remedy is simple. Get into shade, remove whatever clothing you can to help your body cool faster and drink something cold, preferable water or athletic drinks.

Doctors say make sure to avoid caffeine.

"The caffeine can make your heart rate increase, which makes your body temperature get higher, so we don't recommend caffeinated drinks," said Dr. Campbell.

He also says the longer the heat stays with us, the bigger the issue it becomes. That's because people will be cautious at first, then get impatient and return to activities that might be ill-advised.

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