County under heat advisory

Published 9:00 am Thursday, July 26, 2012

The heat is on – and not just in the area’s municipal races, either.

Readings of local temperature gauges are topping out above 100 degrees. Heat indexes are forecasted at 105, meaning the county has been placed under a heat advisory.

On Wednesday, the forecast was set at 97 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Just after lunch, communities were reporting excessive temperatures. At the Covington Center Arena, it was 105 degrees at 3 p.m.

And the heat doesn’t appear to be letting up any time soon, as the forecast remains the same until Sunday with highs between 96 and 97 degrees and heat indexes around 105. Today there is a 50 percent chance rain; however, by Saturday, the chance decreases to 20 percent.

In recent years, excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods. A heat wave is a prolonged period of excessive heat, often combined with excessive humidity. Generally, temperatures are 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region during summer months, last for a long period of time and occur with high humidity as well.

Don Johnson, the executive director of the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross, said people should use extreme caution when working or playing outside and take the necessary steps to protect against heat-related illnesses.

“Also, know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick or overweight and check on them,” he said. “They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help. Plus, people who do not sweat are more likely to become victims to the heat because they don’t realize their body is overheating.

“Plus, if you do not have air conditioning, choose places you could go to for relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day,” he said. “And, of course, don’t forget about pets. Make sure that your animals’ needs for water and shade are met.”