OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An early pre-summer sizzle had area residents searching for creative ways to beat the heat this weekend throughout the metro area.

This weekend’s scorching hot temperatures marked the warmest day in the region in nearly two years.

Anticipating another hot day Monday; another heat advisory was in effect Monday afternoon for areas near and east of Interstate-35, according to the National Weather Service.

EMSA told KFOR it had responded to five suspected heat-related illness calls in the greater Oklahoma City service area as of Monday at 5 p.m. with one patient transported to the hospital; the service also responded to several emergencies over the weekend.

“It was a little bit extreme,” said Gary McManus, State Climatologist for Oklahoma Climatological and Oklahoma Mesonet, a network of environmental monitoring stations in the state.

“We have to go back to July 2020 to have a hotter day than we had [Sunday],” he added.

The skyrocketing temperature spurred the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) to put a medical heat alert in place for the area.

Heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EMSA issues a Medical Heat Alert when paramedics respond to five or more heat-related illness calls in a 24-hour period. The heat alert will remain in place until the temperatures drop.

“This heat is nothing to joke around with,” said Adam Paluka who serves as Chief Public Affairs Officer for EMSA. “It’s very important that people make precautions,” He added, urging the public to apply conventional wisdom when spending time over the next week as temperatures remain high.

EMSA recommends several precautions, including remaining hydrated, wearing light-colored clothing and utilizing a buddy system to check on neighbors and other vulnerable populations.

Monday’s maximum heat index also reached 104 degrees for the region, with area temperatures averaging in the mid to upper nineties.

Keeping those temperatures in perspective, John Werner said safety was top priority for his family.

“We bring lots of sunscreen, especially having young kids, [but] I definitely want to keep in mind the dangers the heat can bring” said Werner, enjoying the splashpad at Scissortail Park on Monday with his family of five.

Meanwhile, others said the key to heat safety could be deploying an early heat warning emergency system for severe heat waves, similar to those that have been put in place for other severe weather systems.

“We’re looking at linking the weather forecast that you get and the impact that the weather forecast will actually mean for people,” said Kurt Schickman, Director of Extreme Heat Initiatives at the Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Resilience Center.

The Center places an additional focus on “leading and expanding the center’s global work to protect people and livelihoods from the growing risks and impacts of climate-driven extreme heat“.

Schickman said having an additional name or category to keep track of heat will not only increase awareness but assist in addressing the problem beyond notifications that come from a weather forecast.

“We don’t often think about heat as dangerous as it actually is for people,” he added, stating that the naming convention system could help “meet people where they are with moments where we know we are going to see dangerously hot temperatures, and to do it in a way where they are actually prepared to do something about it 2:01 like drinking more water , staying inside or getting to cooler spaces.”

“We talk about Hurricane Katrina [and] you just need to say ‘Katrina’ and people know what you’re talking about. I t will give us that ability with heat waves, which is the single biggest weather related killer in the world,” he continued.

Werner and others trying to keep cool Monday, said the early alert system could be what the city needs.

“For people getting hurt in the heat and heat stroke, putting a name to something like that is a great idea,” said Werner.

“It might be, just to get people’s attention. It might work,” added Alfred Jabatty as he crisscrossed the park.

The National Weather Service does not currently name heat waves, but the Center says the heat wave naming system will be tested in other U.S. cities, using critical weather data and other relevant criteria.