BATON ROUGE, La. (KPEL News) - We're getting an early start to the summer heat, it seems, as temperatures over the weekend claimed to highs that haven't been seen before June since the early 20th Century.

Baton Rouge's high on Memorial Day was 98 degrees, which is the first time since 1922 that temperature has been recorded before June 1. What's more, the Heat Index, which is a measure of what it "feels like" outside, soared even higher.

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The National Weather Service shared that tibdit on Tuesday morning.

"How unusual was yesterday in Baton Rouge?" the NWS Twitter/X account asked. "The high of 98 tied a record set in 1922. Outside of a 4 day stretch 5/11-14/1922, the high in BTR has never exceeded 98 degrees prior to June 1st."

"Also," the posted also noted, "yesterday's low of 82 was the warmest low prior to July 5th on record."

That's a very warm start to a very warm summer, and it's only going to get warming, experts warn.

Why Is It So Hot?

Along with the seasonal warming, complicating matters is the continued after-effects of the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai volcano's eruption in 2022.

The Tonga (as it's referred to) eruption was responsible for spewing tons of water, gas, soot, and more into the planet's atmosphere. That, in turn, would impact the planet's heat for the next few years.

According to the website Climate Briefs, when volcanoes erupt, we typically see the earth cool slightly. This is usually due to what gets shot into the atmosphere - namely dust and various aerosols that block sunlight. But the Tonga eruption sent so much water into the air that the vapor is acting like a greenhouse gas and trapping heat in.

Dr Stuart Jenkins, the site noted, had this to say about the potential effects:

“Most large eruptions are dominated by their sulphur dioxide emissions, which cool the planet temporarily as they scatter incoming sunlight. The Tonga eruption was unusual because instead it released a large amount of water vapour into the stratosphere – a powerful greenhouse gas – with little sulphur dioxide emissions.

“Pinatubo and Tonga actually may have opposite warming responses, which makes the Tonga volcano particularly interesting in the context of other recent eruptions.”

Meanwhile, studies show the volcano shot a total of 146 million tons of water into the air, raising the water vapor content of the stratosphere by 10 to 15 percent.

That, in turn, is raising the temperature of the planet by a couple of degrees (Fahrenheit) until possibly 2026.

Stay Safe in That Louisiana Heat

To avoid getting overheated during the summer in Louisiana, several practical steps can be taken:

1. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid sugary, caffeinated, or alcoholic beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration.


2. Wear Appropriate Clothing: Choose lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing. Natural fabrics like cotton can help keep you cooler than synthetic materials.


3. Seek Shade: Whenever possible, stay in shaded areas, especially during peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.


4. Use Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, which can also contribute to overheating.


5. Plan Outdoor Activities Wisely: Schedule strenuous activities for the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.


6. Take Breaks: When working or exercising outdoors, take frequent breaks in a cool or shaded area to allow your body to cool down.


7. Stay Indoors: During extreme heat, spend more time indoors in air-conditioned environments. If you don't have air conditioning at home, visit places like malls, libraries, or community centers.

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8. Use Fans and Cooling Devices: Fans, portable air conditioners, and cooling towels can help lower your body temperature.


9. Eat Light: Opt for smaller, lighter meals that are easier to digest, as heavy meals can increase your body temperature.


10. Cool Showers: Take cool showers or baths to help lower your body temperature.

By following these steps, you can better manage the heat and reduce the risk of overheating during the hot summer months in Louisiana.

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