2011-07-13 / Front Page

Hot enough for ya?

By JOE L. HUGHES II Ledger Staff Writer joe@gaffneyledger.com

An already sizzling summer became even more unbearable Tuesday as temperatures approached triple digits in Cherokee County and other portions of the Palmetto State.

The mercury will again hover around 100 degrees today, the result of a high pressure ridge moving in from the west hovering above the Southeast, according to the National Weather Service.

“It’s a pretty typical summer weather pattern,” said Zachary Hargrove of the National Weather Service. “But when it is over us like it currently is, it can cause some really oppressive heat.”

While no high temperature records were set Tuesday or anticipated today, residents are advised to hold outdoor activities to a minimum with heat indices settling between 105 and 109 degrees, high enough to prompt the National Weather Service to issue heat and hazardous weather advisories for a large area of the Upstate. Portions of the Lowcountry are also under heat advisories.

Expectations by those at the National Weather Service is that the Midlands will bear the brunt of the current heat wave. Not comforted by a cool ocean breeze or settled in the shadow of a mountain range, temperatures are predicted to near the 100-degree mark the next few days, with heat indices making it feel more like 110 to 115 degrees, according to Hargrove.

“It is typically a bit warmer down there to begin with, topography having a lot to do with that as well as the (Midlands’) exposure to sunlight,” he said.

More than a dozen states across the Midwest, Plains and Southeast have been under some form of heat advisory the past few days, which is typical protocol when the heat index is forecast to reach 105 degrees or above.

It has already been quite a torrid summer statewide. June was one of the hottest months on record in South Carolina, and particularly in the Upstate, where temperatures reached 90 degrees or higher 20 days during the month.

The trend has continued well into July as temperatures surpassed 90 degrees each day this month.

Daytime temperatures have yet to peak below that point since June 25, when the mercury rose to a “cool” 89 degrees.

Precautions should be taken during such extreme conditions, Hargrove said, beginning with the intake of plenty of fluids, preferably water.

“The top thing is fluids, fluids, fluids,” he said. “The better hydrated you are, the better shape you’ll be in.”

If you must be outdoors, an appropriate sunscreen is advised, in addition to not exerting too much energy. However, it is preferable to schedule all outdoor activities during early morning or evening hours.

Believe it or not, there is a tiny morsel of good news. Starting Thursday, temperatures are forecasted to gradually relent a bit as a weak cold front moves into the area, bringing with it added cloud cover and opportunities for rainfall.

“We’ll see, but we’re forecasting a more comfortable weekend after all this heat,” Hargrove said. “Right now we’re expecting Thursday temperatures to drop to around 90, then fall Friday to around 85. The weekend should be a bit more pleasant for all, with temperatures hanging around the mid to upper 80s.”

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