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Heat wave is on the way
Experts warn of dangers extreme temps can bring
Despite the hot weather, Juan Carrion works on his tennis skills Wednesday during a United States Tennis Association practice at City Park in Gainesville. Temperatures are expected to get even hotter today and could break 100 this weekend. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times

Temperatures could hit the triple-digit mark this weekend, prompting health care officials to issue concerns about potential heat-related dangers.

“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” said Van Haygood, Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s director of emergency and critical care services.

“Stay inside. Drink plenty of water. Don’t overexert,” he said.

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City released a “hazardous weather outlook” for North and Middle Georgia on Wednesday, saying that “hot temperatures and increasing low-level moisture will produce high heat index values Saturday through Monday.”

After a brief respite of low humidity and 80s-only temperatures this week, the mercury is expected to shoot into the mid-90s today and upper 90s Friday and Saturday. The high temperature on Sunday could reach 100, with some weather outlets saying records could be broken.

Regardless, the sun will be out and blazing, with precipitation nowhere near in the immediate forecast.

“We definitely recommend that folks take it easy,” said Robert Garcia, a National Weather Service meteorologist.
“Wear light clothing, avoid being outside, try to get air conditioning.”

Also, don’t forget caring for your pets, including making sure their water bowls are full.

“The heat is very dangerous to everybody,” Garcia said. “If you have to be outside, take breaks and be aware of your health and the health of others you may be around.”

Dave Palmer, a spokesman for the Hall County Health Department, added that people should confine any necessary outside activity to early or late in the day, when the sun is less scorching.

“Also, cars heat up very fast in this type of weather,” he said. “It’s important not to leave a child in the car. A child’s body temperature rises faster than adults’, so a child in the car is going to overheat faster than an adult.”

Extreme heat also poses more risks for older people.

“As we grow older, our bodies are not as resilient as they used to be,” Palmer said. “Many elderly people have other health conditions and so, when their body is stressed, the stress can cause them to become disabled much more quickly than a healthy, younger person.”

Haygood said heat exhaustion cases are common in the emergency room this time of year.

“The weather is always really warm here in the summer, and we’re kind of accustomed to that,” he said. “We have a core staffing that we use, and we staff up and down as we need to.”

The heat wave can be traced to the movement of Tropical Storm Debby across northern Florida.

“A frontal boundary moved in and brought a warmer, drier air mass, and we have a high-pressure system that is starting to build in over a large portion of the eastern United States,” Garcia said.

“As that high pressure builds in, it’s going to keep our skies clear.”

The one bit of good news here is that “the drier air should help keep the heat index down,” Garcia said.

Temperatures will drop after Sunday, but not by much. Expect 97 on Monday and 93 on Tuesday, according to the weather service.

Also, clouds will begin to gather Sunday night, with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms Monday and Tuesday.

The Hall County area has a 5-inch rainfall deficit for the year to date. Most of Hall, as well as the state, was in some level of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s report last Thursday.

A new report will be released today based on data collected through 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Lake Lanier, meanwhile, was at 1,064.21 feet above sea level on Wednesday, or nearly 7 feet below the normal summer full pool of 1,071 feet. At this time last year, the lake stood at nearly 1,068 feet.


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