Livingston Parish Public Schools handed out water to students riding buses home Monday amid an intense heat wave that is driving heat indexes above 110 degrees across portions of south Louisiana.

The National Weather Service said similar conditions are expected Tuesday, and forecasters extended a heat advisory for the region. Between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, the heat index should range between 107 and 112 degrees.

Meteorologist Robert Ricks, based in Slidell, said Monday that such high heat indexes can cause some heat-related illnesses, including heat stress, if people are outside for extended periods during the hottest time of the day or they don't take precautions like drinking water, seeking shade and wearing light and loose-fitting clothing. Heat stroke is also possible, and is a medical emergency that should prompt a call to 9-1-1.

Ricks said the most heavily impacted areas are those north of Lake Ponchartrain and Lake Maurepas, including Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes and over into East Baton Rouge Parish. Forecasters north of Baton Rouge have issued an excessive heat warning, with heat indexes expected in the 111- to 115-degree range. 

"This is typically our hottest part of the month, so I guess the tradeoff is that if we're dealing with the heat we're usually not dealing with hurricanes," Ricks said.

As temperatures climbed Monday, the Livingston Parish school system posted on its Facebook page that all students riding the bus would be provided water for the afternoon trip home, and reminded parents that students are allowed to bring their own water on morning and afternoon bus trips.

Louisiana isn't alone in the scorching summer heat, though, as a total of 13 states including Texas and Mississippi were under heat advisories. Parts of Arkansas west of Memphis, Tennessee, saw heat indexes around 117 degrees Monday.

The Associated Press reported that Baton Rouge typically experiences less than a week's worth of days each year where the heat index is above 105 degrees.

Ricks said while temperatures will remain high Tuesday, there is some respite expected Wednesday when a front will bring some rain through, hopefully cooling down the area. He said normally during this time of year there's a 30 to 40 percent chance of rain each day, but that's not expected Monday or Tuesday, amplifying the feeling of the heat outside.


Email Emma Kennedy at ekennedy@theadvocate.com.