“Limit your outdoor activity,” said Kel Grier, assistant director of West Georgia Ambulance. “Wear light, loose-fitting clothing and drink plenty of water. If you have to go outside, wait until late in the evening.”
Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said temperatures in Carrollton could reach a high of 106 Saturday, with a high of 104 expected for Friday and 103 for Sunday. All three days have a zero percent chance of rain.
Garcia said the heat wave could be an indirect result of Tropical Storm Debby, which posed a flooding threat to towns along the Gulf Coast this week.
“We’ve got a dry, warm air mass coming in behind the Debby front,” Garcia said. “There will be high pressure over the Southeast which will not allow the typical moisture flow that we get from the coasts.”
One reason for the heat accumulation will be the lack of a cool-down period at night.
“We’re forecasting high temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s at night over the weekend,” he said. “So the area is not getting that rest from the heat that it needs. We’re not being given a chance to recover.”
Garcia said the humidity levels are not expected to be high, however.
“If there’s any saving grace in all this, the humidity might be it,” he said. “It won’t be as big a factor as it would be in August. It’s still going to be very hot, though — 106 degrees is nothing to sneeze at.”
However, Garcia said the low humidity levels may make the conditions more dangerous for residents because they will find the conditions to be better than expected.
“People might be slightly more comfortable with the weather and go out more than they would if the humidity was up,” he said. “They might decide they don’t need as much water, which is a mistake.”
Grier said the easiest way to tell if someone is suffering from heat stroke is if he or she is not sweating.
“If they aren’t profusing at all,” he said, “it’s a heat stroke.”
Grier said to call 911 if you believe someone around you is suffering from heat stroke.
“Move them to a cool area and start cooling them with cool cloths,” he said. “Put ice packs on the back of their neck and in their armpits.”
On its website, the National Weather Service provides a list of symptoms and first aid methods for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: heavy sweating, weakness, cold or clammy skin and fainting. The first aid suggested for heat exhaustion is to get the person out of the sun and lay them down and loosen their clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths to the person and fan the victim, offering sip of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water.
Symptoms of a heat stroke include high body temperature, hot and dry skin, rapid pulse and possible unconsciousness. First aid suggested is to summon emergency medical assistance and move them to a cooler environment. The NWS says not to give the victim any fluids.
Both Garcia and Grier stressed the importance of keeping children and pets indoors.
“These sensitive populations — kids, pets, the elderly — should be taken care of,” Garcia said. “Keep their body temperatures down. Get them inside into that air conditioning.”
Grier agreed, saying children frequently don’t know what temperatures their bodies can handle.
“They’re out there, running around, and they don’t realize what they’re doing,” he said.
Unfortunately, the high temperatures may not end Sunday. Garcia said it could be Wednesday until temperatures are down to a more “reasonable” level. Even then, he said, Carrollton will still have mid- to high-90s days.
“This could last a while,” Garcia said.
But it could be worse — residents of Hill City, Kan., are expected to face 110 degrees of heat Friday, just three days after the city’s all-time record of 115 degrees.