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How to stay cool with no power

Heat can be deadly, and most of Southeast Louisiana is without power to cool off after Hurricane Ida.
Credit: AP
Traffic diverts around downed power lines Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Metairie, La. A fearsome Hurricane Ida has left scores of coastal Louisiana residents trapped by floodwaters and pleading to be rescued, while making a shambles of the electrical grid across a wide swath of the state in the sweltering, late-summer heat. One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. mainland has now weakened into a tropical storm as it pushes inland over Mississippi with torrential rain and shrieking winds. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

NEW ORLEANS — With a large portion of Louisiana without power, residents need to find creative ways to cope with the heat in the forecast. 

Southeastern Louisiana is expected to have heat index values, or “feels like” temperatures, in the triple digits through the middle of the workweek. There are a few simple tips and tricks residents without power can use in order to beat the heat over the coming days. 

  • Keep windows closed and covered during the day. While it might be warm inside, conditions are warmer outdoors while the sun is out. Keeping sunlight out of the house won’t help the air in your house get cooler, but it will prevent it from getting even warmer. Windows can be opened during nighttime hours when temperatures drop in order to create air circulation.  
  • If residents live in a multi-level home, consider living and sleeping on the ground floor. Remember that hot air rises! Therefore, staying on the first floor of a home will naturally be the coolest. 
  • Wear loose articles of clothing and breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. Tighter articles of clothing trap heat and keep the body warm.
     
  • It might be tempting to use the cooler air from your freezer and refrigerator by keeping the doors open, but don’t do it! According to the Food and Drug Administration, any food or beverages in your refrigerator will be kept cold for about 4 hours after losing power. A full freezer can maintain cool temperatures for up to 48 hours (a freezer that is half full stays cool for about half the time). Both of these times will be lower if the doors are opened.

     
  • Take cold showers. Residents might be without power but still have running water. Cold showers are a great way to keep cool after spending time outdoors or even cooling off before heading to bed. However, many parts of Southeast Louisiana are being asked to conserve water. Always listen to local officials and avoid unnecessary water use while service remains fragile. 

     
  • Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling off but it is unable to do so if liquids aren’t being consumed. 

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