The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Heat wave calls for special precautions
BY KATIE THISDELL
Misting tents can be pretty cool.
And if you’re at Saturday’s Stars and Stripes Spectacular in Spotsylvania, shade, misting tents and plenty of water may be your best chance for relief from the heat. The festival starts at 3 o’clock this afternoon in the courthouse area and ends with a fireworks display.
Saturday and Sunday are expected to be scorchers as the excessive heat warnings continue.
Temperatures topped 99 degrees in Fredericksburg Friday with a heat index of at least 108. The high at Stafford Regional Airport was 102.
It will stay hot over the weekend, with forecast highs from the National Weather Service nearing 100. Highs in the 90s are expected all week, with a high of 95 forecast for July Fourth.
For Washington, this is the hottest June on record for 142 years—temperatures hit 104 on Friday, breaking the 1874 and 2011 record of 102 at Reagan National Airport. The temperature at Dulles hit 102, breaking the record there, as well.
When the mercury is this high, staying cool and safe is a necessity. Here are tips from the Stafford County Fire & Rescue Department.
* Drink plenty of water, regardless of activity level.
* Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
* Stay indoors. If you don’t have to go outside, then don’t.
* Limit any outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
* Cut down on exercise. Try to rest often in shady areas.
* If you don’t have air conditioning, go somewhere that does, such as a shopping mall, library or cooling center.
King George County will have a cooling center open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the King George Fire and Rescue Company 1, 8122 Kings Highway. Orange County will also have a cooling shelter open 12–8 p.m. Saturday at the Rescue Squad building, 151 Berryhill Road.
* Avoid alcohol or drinks with large amounts of sugar. These can cause you to lose more body fluid. Very cold drinks can also cause stomach cramps.
* Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
* Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
* Never leave anyone—child, adult or pet—in a closed, parked vehicle. The extreme heat can be fatal.
BE SAFE ON THE WATER
The hot weekend also means many people will be spending time in local rivers and lakes. Here is water safety information from the Friends of the Rappahannock.
Do not assume that any body of water is safe. The Rappahannock River has strong currents, an uneven riverbed with deep holes, rocks, roots and other obstacles.
Never wade, swim, tube or boat alone.
Always wear a personal flotation device, no matter what you’re doing on the river. Life vests are provided at the Historic Port of Falmouth beach in southern Stafford.
Wear shoes and appropriate clothing.
Know how to swim.
Do not drink or take drugs if you are planning any type of river activity.
If you see someone in trouble in the river, call 911 immediately.
DROUGHT WATCH IN BEACH
Also, the town of Colonial Beach has issued a drought watch because of the hot, dry weather conditions and recent high water use.
Town Manager Val Foulds has asked town residents to voluntarily reduce non-essential water uses that include washing vehicles, watering lawns, filling swimming pools, watering trees and watering shrubbery. The drought watch will remain in effect until further notice.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975