Viewer question: What's the difference between a Heat Advisory and an Excessive Heat Warning?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Several viewers have asked about the differences between Heat Advisories and Excessive Heat Warnings.  With potentially dangerous weather once again in our forecast this week, here's the breakdown of the criteria used by the National Weather Service when heat reaches dangerous levels.

When an Excessive Heat Warning is issued for your area, the combination of heat and humidity can quickly become deadly if precautions are not taken.  It will be issued if the heat index is forecast to climb to at least 105° for more than three hours per day for two consecutive days.  It will also be issued if the heat index is expected to climb over 115° for any length of time.

In the simplest terms, a Heat Advisory is less urgent than an Excessive Heat Warning, but conditions could still be dangerous.

A Heat Advisory will be issued when heat indices will be above 105° but less than 115° for less than three hours per day, or if nighttime lows are expected to remain above 80°.

When one of these is issued for your area, you should take precautions to stay cool.  Drink plenty of water, take breaks from the heat, and remember to use sunscreen.  Sunburn only makes it more difficult for your body to cool itself.

Also remember that pets need help to stay cool, too.  Click here for tips on how you can help your furry friends beat the heat.