Steamy temps sticking around, making outdoor work difficult

Posted July 20, 2015

— The pattern that started over the weekend of steamy temperatures moderated only by scattered late afternoon thunderstorms continues Monday and Tuesday, with forecast highs in the upper 90s.

Forty counties were under a heat advisory Monday through 7 p.m., an indicator that outdoor conditions will feel hotter than 105 degrees for a prolonged period of time. The National Weather Service issued the same alert for Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. for counties including Wake, Johnston and Cumberland.

Sunny skies will dominate both days, and a light breeze will do little to ameliorate the effects of heat and humidity, expected to push the heat index past 105 degrees.

The extreme heat makes the job of fighting fires even more difficult, Fayetteville Fire Chief Ben Majors said.

No one was injured in an afternoon house fire on Fork Road, but Majors said several firefighters had to be checked out at the scene.

"First, we help ourselves," the chief said. "Making sure that we're hydrated, make sure that, when the time comes, that we come out of the situation and we recuperate so we can be of assistance and not become part of the problem."

Majors said his firefighters also have to prepare for the potential of lightning during summer thunderstorms.

"We wouldn't go out in the middle of a hurricane or a tornado, so sometimes, you're in a position where you have to back off something and wait till it's clear," he said.

The chance for thunderstorms Monday was only about 10 percent, but there is a better opportunity for storms to form Tuesday. After the storms pass, the rest of the week cools down to the low 90s.

Heat safety tips

The heat can be dangerous, especially for those who must work outdoors, the very young and the very old, as well as anyone who is obese or on medications, such as antihistamines, diuretics or beta blockers.

Medical experts suggest that everyone stay out of the heat, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when it's usually the hottest and the heat is the most intense.

Those who must be outdoors are advised to take frequent breaks, stay hydrated and wear loose clothing that covers the skin, protecting from burning ultraviolet rays.


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