Natural Hazards and Threats

  1. Extreme Heat
  2. Flood
  3. Thunderstorms
  4. Tornado
  5. Winter Weather


South Texas is no stranger to extreme heat. With an extended period of extreme heat, there is often high humidity. During that time, a body can be pushed beyond its limits. Illnesses range from heat cramps to heat stroke. Young children, the elderly and those who are sick or overweight are more susceptible to extreme temperatures.

Safety Tips

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Apply sunscreen
  • Drink plenty of fluids and replace salts and minerals in your body.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.

Heat Watches and Warnings

  • Heat Wave - Prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity.
  • Heat Index - A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.
  • Excessive Heat Watch - Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Index values are forecast to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs=105-110° Fahrenheit).
  • Heat Advisory - Heat Index values are forecast to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105° Fahrenheit)

Heat Related Illnesses

  • Heat Cramps - Muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are often the first signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
    • If these symptoms are observed:
  • Get the person to a cooler location and remove excess clothing.
  • Give cool sports drinks. Do not give liquids with caffeine or alcohol. Discontinue liquids if victim is nauseated.
  • Seek medical attention if: the cramps do not subside in an hour, the victim has heart problems, or is on a low-sodium diet
  • Heat exhaustion Typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headaches, nausea, fainting. If not treated, the victim's condition will worsen.
    • If these symptoms are observed:
      • Move victim to air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing.
      • Cool the victim by placing them in a cool shower or bath, or by applying cool, wet cloths.
      • Give sips of water or cool sports drinks containing salt and sugar. Do not give liquids with caffeine or alcohol. Discontinue liquids if victim is nauseated.
      • Seek immediate medical attention if there is no improvement, the victim is unable to take fluids, vomiting occurs, or any symptoms are severe.
    • Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Symptoms include extremely high body temperature above 103°F, hot dry red skin, rapid strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, unconsciousness.
    • If these symptoms ae observed:
      • Call 911 or emergency medical services, or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
      • Until the emergency medical personnel arrive on scene or during transport to the hospital, move the person to a cooler location, cool by removing clothing, bath, sponging, applying a cold we sheet.
      • Do not give the victim fluids to drink.