There seems to be no end in sight to the sweltering temperatures plaguing the Palestine area, with 21 days of 100-plus degree temperatures in July and seven consecutive days of the triple-digit heat.
And the heat wave is not over, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, which has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for East Texas until 9 p.m. Thursday.
“A large area of high pressure is dominating your area for the rest of the week,” said Jesse Moore, a meteorologist with the NWS’s Fort Worth office. “Highs this week are expected to approach or exceed record levels, with heat index values likely to rise to or exceed 110 degrees.”
There is not much chance of rain, Moore said, with only a few isolated showers possible early next week.
“An upper level ridge will move slightly west over the weekend and cool things down a couple of degrees,” he said. “It will still be hot, but not as hot as what we have been seeing.”
The average area high temperature for July was 100.3 degrees. Most of the state is suffering from extreme heat and drought — two phenomena that tend to go “hand in hand,” Moore said.
The National Weather Service forecast for the Palestine area includes sunny skies through next Monday with high temperatures ranging from 100 to 105 degrees, with a heat index of up to 110 degrees and low temperatures ranging from 78 to 79 degrees.
In light of the Excessive Heat Warning, the NWS and the Texas Division of Emergency Management urges residents to take precautions against heat related illnesses that more easily occur in the current weather scenario.
“Be sure to check on persons with health problems and the elderly as they are most susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” an NWS report read. “Never leave young children or pets in an enclosed vehicle — even for a short time — as temperatures can quickly rise to life threatening levels.”
If a child is riding in the back seat of a vehicle, drivers are urged to leave a briefcase, purse, wallet or other essential item beside the child so that they are not forgotten.
Those who work outside should take extra precautions, rescheduling strenuous activities to early morning or evening when possible and scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments.
Other suggestions to staying cool in this heat include wearing lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drinking plenty of water. Alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks should be avoided. Eating smaller meals but more often, also can help the body during periods of extreme heat.
Persons are encouraged to know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, including:
• Muscle cramps
• Heavy sweating
• Weakness and dizziness
• Weak but rapid pulse
Those who experience these symptoms are advised to seek shade, drink water slowly and seek medical attention if symptoms do not improve. Heat stroke is an emergency — call 911.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com