Summer heat in the Philippines intensifies to dangerous levels

If you feel that it's becoming too hot outside, you're not mistaken. According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) data, the heat index reached a record 52.3 degrees Celsius in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija on Tuesday, April 12.

That's the highest heat index this year, surpassing Monday's record of 51 degrees Celsius, also in Cabanatuan, as reported by Inquirer.

(Image Credit: Department of Tourism)

What does heat index  mean? According to PAGASA, it is "the apparent temperature or what humans perceive or feel as the temperature affecting their body". It is the temperature felt by the human body based on the combination of humidity and air temperature. Thus, the heat index is also referred to as the human discomfort index.

The 52.3 degrees Celsius recorded in Cabanatuan is at the upper end of the "Danger" level of PAG-ASA's heat index which ranges from 41 to 54 degrees Celsius. At this level, PAGASA warns that heat cramps and heat exhaustion can occur,  and if one is involved in continuous activity, heat stroke is probable.

The record heat index in Cabanatuan is less than 2 degrees away from the Extreme Danger level of over 54 degrees Celsius, where PAGASA warns that heat stroke is already imminent.

Aside from Cabanatuan, 21 out of 53 PAGASA weather stations in several parts of  the country also recorded a heat index at the  Danger level.

The top 11 hottest areas aside from Cabanatuan, include the following:

Clark Airport, Pampanga                       (51.9)
Sangley Point, Cavite                           (50.2)
Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte               (46.7)
Science Garden QC, NCR                     (45.4)
Daet, Camarines Norte                         (45.2)
Ambulong, Batangas                            (44.9)
Guiuan, Eastern Samar                         (44.6)
Legaspi City, Albay                              (44.5)
Roxas City, Capiz                                (44.4)
San Jose City, Occidental Mindoro          (44.4)
General Santos City, South Cotabato       (44.4)

To beat the heat, PAGASA advises people to stay indoors as much as possible, and to drink lots of water regularly to avoid dehydration. If you need to go out, wear lightweight and light colored clothing. Small but more frequent meals are advised.  High-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat, must be avoided. Drinking liquor should also be avoided since it causes dehydration.
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