The heat index rose to a unmerciful 106 Saturday as the Thomson-McDuffie County area baked.
The three-day segment, Thursday through Saturday, was the hottest so far this year and according to the National Weather Office in Peachtree City, the heat will continue.
Jessie Nealy of Thomson Roofing takes a sip while working on the roof of Kent's last week. In the hot conditions, workers should drink close to two gallons of water a day to keep hydrated.
While Monday, the first "official" day of summer, saw a little respite from the heat, Frank Taylor of the Atlanta-area weather service office, said the temperatures and humidity will most likely pick back up.
"From our figures, we expect the rest of the week to see a little break from the heat, but we think it will pick back up soon" said Mr. Taylor, adding heat indexes in the area of 101 are common during this time of year.
The heat index is an accurate measure of how hot it really feels when the relative humidity is added to the actual air temperature.
Taylor said temperature and precipitation levels should match that of normal summers even though the scorching seems to have started early.
"Typically, in July-August, temperatures hover in the low to mid 90s, with night time temperatures in the low to mid 70s. But that does not count our strikes of 100 degree weather in some cases," he said.
Dog days, which refers to repeatedly hot days followed by sultry nights usually extends from mid-July until the end of August.
"In that pattern, there is little change, unless a tropical system develops," Mr. Taylor stated. "We have surface highs located off Bermuda that usually keep us in the dog day pattern."
While the heat will bear down, Mr. Taylor noted the area had snuck by a usually dangerous time of year.
"Our tornado season, the end of February through the first part of June, has slipped away," he said. "While tornados can happen any month, we have been very fortunate to dodge severe weather in the entire state so far."
Along with the heat and humidity comes the starving of the ground of water.
In early June, statistics show the McDuffie County area was down by nine inches from the normal amount.
More than five inches of rain have fallen so far this month, which is three inches above normal, and means that right now we have a deficit of near three inches, said Mr. Taylor. Last year, a very wet year, the area had a little over 33 inches of rain by this time, compared to 21.5 inches this year.
"In your area, you are still in a drought pattern. If a tropical system does not develop, while you will get occasional hits of rain, the drenching rains will most likely not appear," he said, saying while the rain is needed, we need to be careful of what we wish for.
"This year is the 10th anniversary of Alberto. Let's wish for rain and moisture, but not a storm like Alberto," said Mr. Terry.
Tropical Storm Alberto occurred in the first week of July 1994, dumping 21 inches of rain in three days. Close to $750 million in damages was reported and the storm contributed to 33 deaths.
HEAT RELATED MEDICAL CONSEQUENCES
HEAT INDEX HEAT DISORDERS
80-90 F Fatigue possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity.
90-105 F Sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity.
105-130 F Sunstroke, heat cramps or heat exhaustion likely, and heatstroke possible with prolonged exposure and/or physical activity.
130 F or higher Heatstroke/sunstroke highly likely with continued exposure.
PREVENTING HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS
Elderly persons, small children, chronic invalids, those on certain medications or drugs (especially tranquilizers and anticholinergics), and persons with weight and alcohol problems are particularly susceptible to heat reactions, especially during heat waves in areas where moderate climate usually prevails.
Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
Dress for summer. Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
Drink plenty of water or other nonalcoholic fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets, or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.
Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician. Persons on salt restrictive diets should consult a physician before increasing their salt intake.
Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.
Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.