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Heat index hits dangerous 55.8º

The actual maximum heat index recorded in Dagupan City at 2 p.m. on Friday surpassed the previous record set in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija at 52.3 degrees Celsius last month. Philstar.com file

MANILA, Philippines – State weather forecasters observed a record-breaking heat index in Pangasinan after the actual apparent temperature reached an “extremely dangerous” 55.8 degrees Celsius on Friday afternoon.

The actual maximum heat index recorded in Dagupan City at 2 p.m. on Friday surpassed the previous record set in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija at 52.3 degrees Celsius last month.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the highest heat index in Cabanatuan City on Friday also broke the previous record and reached 52.6 degrees Celsius.

The heat index, or human discomfort index, gives the apparent temperature, or what humans perceive or feel as the temperature affecting their body. It is based on the actual temperature and relative humidity.

“High air temperatures and high relative humidity will give high apparent temperatures or indices. Full exposure to sunshine can increase the heat index by nine degrees,” PAGASA said.

It said a heat index over 54 degrees Celsius is considered extremely dangerous and could cause heat stroke.

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A heat index between 41 to 54 degrees is considered dangerous and likely to cause cramps, exhaustion and even heat stroke after continuous activity.

State weather forecasters advised the public to stay indoors as direct exposure to the sun could significantly increase the heat index.

They also advised the public to wear lightweight and light-colored clothes, as light colors will reflect the sun’s heat.

“Drink plenty of water regularly. The body needs water to keep cool. Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinking liquor because it dehydrates the body,” PAGASA said.

“Eat small meals; however, eat more often. Avoid eating foods that are high in protein which can increase metabolic heat,” it added.

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