The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Summer’s here and so is the heat
BY LINDLEY ESTES
Wednesday’s solstice marks the beginning of summer.
Wednesday also ushers in the first heat wave of the year, which the National Weather Service expects to last through Friday.
The weather service issued a heat advisory between noon and 8 p.m. Wednesday when temperatures are expected to climb into the upper 90s with a heat index of up to 105 degrees.
Temperatures topped out 88 degrees Tuesday, with the heat index above 90. It was the hottest day locally this year since April 16, when temperatures reached 88.
The mercury is expected to climb above 90 for the next three days as a high pressure system arrives, bringing in humid conditions, said Heather Sheffield, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sterling.
Thursday is expected to be the hottest of the three-day scorcher at 97.
Though temperatures can reach 90 through the weekend, an incoming front on Friday will make the heat index more bearable.
Sheffield said that heat waves are typical this time of year. However, this is not expected to be an oppressively hot summer.
“The climate prediction is near normal for this summer,” she said. “July should be very near normal in the upper 80s. Hotter than June, but that’s no surprise.”
Al D’Imperio, director of the Philadelphia Occupational Safety & Health Administration office, said that during the heat wave outdoor workers are at risk.
D’Imperio is involved with a U.S. Department of Labor campaign to create awareness of the effects of heat.
D’Imperio said that the sudden onset of heat doesn’t allow people to get acclimated to the weather.
In this circumstance, frequent work breaks can help people adapt.
D’Imperio also said that staying hydrated, not drinking alcohol, taking periodic breaks and wearing light-colored, loose fitting clothing are steps to prevent heat-related illnesses.
He also said that workers in the agricultural and construction industries are at high risk for heat exhaustion and stroke since they work outside.
“In 2010, 4,191 workers suffered from heat-related illness,” he said. “Forty of those died.”
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, nausea, thirst and sweating.
The more severe counterpart, heatstroke, is categorized by passing out, seizure and an inability to sweat, among other symptoms.
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should get to a cool, shady place and call emergency services, D’Imperio said.
“Employers should come up with heat stress programs,” he said. “That way they and their workers know how to identify the symptoms of heat illness and how to respond.”
AAA MidAtlantic warned area motorists about the heat wave, reminding them not to leave children, elderly or pets inside of parked cars.
“With these temperatures, it will certainly be very hot and uncomfortable outdoors,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA MidAtlantic’s manager of public and government affairs in the release. “But as hot as it is outdoors, temperatures inside a car can quickly soar to nearly 200 degrees with no relief. This is hot enough to kill most living beings, and cause most cars to conk out or to break down on the road.”
Sheffield also cautioned on how the heat affects the elderly and children.
“Keep checking on your older neighbors and kids,” she said. “Those are the two demographics most likely to be affected.”
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976