A record breaking heat wave has taken over Louisiana this summer. Rob Perillo, chief meteorologist at KATC, has shared on Facebook that Lafayette has had the hottest and driest August on record. This June was also the hottest on record for Lafayette. 

Perillo shared that this summer has had 30 days that reached 100 degrees. For comparison, in the years from 1982-2022, there were 32 days that reached 100 degrees.

Perillo explained why these record breaking numbers are occurring. 

“Mathematically it boils down to mostly climate change, partly just a hot summer, partly El Nino, and maybe partly water vapor injected by the Hunga Tonga volcano last year, but we need more data and time to study the latter,” Perilo said.

Mayor-President Josh Guillory declared a state of emergency for all of Lafayette Parish from Aug. 23 to Sept. 9. The declaration bans open burnings and burning debris.

One reason for the state of emergency and burn bans can be attributed to the wildfires occurring across Louisiana. The extreme heat and dry conditions have made it easier for wildfires to occur. According to Vox, these wildfires have covered around 60,000 acres of land total.

In this state of emergency, people can help combat the damages caused by the heat, such as the water systems being stressed. 

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Office of Sustainability made a post on their Instagram, @ul_sustainability, that shared tips on how to save water. Their tips were to “Take shorter showers. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. Run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. Hold off on washing your car.”

UL Lafayette sent out an email to students on the first day of school warning students to be safe in these high temperatures. Some safety measures UL Lafayette encouraged students to take were staying hydrated, dressing for sweltering weather, wearing sunscreen and using the buddy system to stay safe outdoors.

They also encouraged students to know their risk. The email stated “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone can develop a heat-related illness, but some groups of people are at higher risk than others. High-risk groups include infants and children, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, people who overexert during work or exercise, people who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure, or those who take certain medications, such as for depression, insomnia or poor circulation.”

Heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn, and heat rash. Symptoms and solutions can be found on http://www.cdc.gov.

Students have been suffering when walking to and from classes outdoors. Some UL Lafayette students shared their experiences with how the heat has affected them and how they’ve been coping.

Ella Richard, a sophomore majoring in psychology explains that her classes later in the day are worse than the ones in the morning. 

“I actually don’t mind walking to my 8:00 a.m. classes, but walking to my class at 1:00 p.m. is miserable,” Richard said. 

Richard also shared that she’s been dressing differently because of the heat. 

“I only wear athletic clothes right now because I know I’m going to sweat walking to class,” she said.

Reagan Richey, a sophomore nursing major, shared that she’s ready for fall. 

“I’ve kind of just accepted the heat as part of living in Louisiana, but at this point it’s excessive. I’m so ready for the weather to cool down and for it to start feeling like fall,” Richey said.

Kelcie Latiolais, a junior majoring in secondary education with a concentration in social studies, shares “The heat has honestly been the worst that I’ve ever experienced on campus and I take shortcuts through buildings so I don’t have to stay in the heat long.”

Ava Welch, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering, shared the impact the heat has had on her. 

“Dealing with the heat this year has been a struggle. Aside from drinking much more water to stay hydrated, I’ve also had to start wearing sunscreen not only on my face but on my arms and shoulders as well,” Welch said, “My skin burns very easily and I’ve already gotten multiple sun burns this school year just from being exposed to the sun while walking to and from class on campus.”