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Steamy day as heat index approaches 100 in Tampa area


Published:   |   Updated: June 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Floridians have grown accustomed to sticky mornings and oppressive afternoons during the summer months.

But if we needed any reminder, a step outside today will remind us of just how hot it can get around the Tampa Bay area.

And summer doesn't even officially start for three days.

The heat index - a measure of the temperature in relation to humidity - will approach 100 degrees again today as hot, muggy air settles over the region. The index is a

A steamy morning will lead to a hot afternoon as temperatures will cross 90 under mostly sunny skies.

"This is pretty typical," said Paul Close, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Ruskin. "We're going to be staying warm and humid through most of September. It really doesn't cool down until October." For the Bay area this week, that means highs in the low 90s and lows in the upper 70s, with chances of isolated afternoon thunderstorms.

However, it's the dew point, and its impact on afternoon heat, that is the biggest concern going forward.

The dew point is a measure of the amount of moisture in the air, and as it climbs, it creates those sticky, humid conditions that make it feel even hotter.

Close said weather officials issue heat advisories when the heat index reaches 108 degrees and excessive heat warnings at 113 degrees.

Even now, residents should be careful to stay hydrated, drinking plenty of fluids to avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Floridians have grown accustomed to these warnings, just perhaps not this early in the year.

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