Miss-Lou melts under high temps

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2000

&uot;Believe me honey, it’s hot,&uot; Annette Johnson said over the roar of portable fans inside the Malt Shop Friday. As temperatures climbed into the triple digits Friday, many Miss-Lou residents, including Johnson, found it difficult to keep cool.

Thomas Dunbar, an employee at Old&160;Standard Service Center, spent the day in the heat washing cars.

&uot;I washed so many cars I started hallucinating,&uot; he said, still finding the energy to smile.

Email newsletter signup

In an attempt to offset the heat, Dunbar’s co-worker, Bowser Ware, kept near a portable fan at the car wash, but without much reward.

&uot;That fan ain’t blowing nothing but hot air,&uot; Ware said.

Friday was a hot day for Natchez and the state with temperatures reaching into the hundreds for central and south Mississippi Friday, and 105 degrees was the expected high for the day.

These temperatures are several degrees higher than usual for August. Jackson has an average temperature of 92 degrees for this time of year, said Greg Garrett, of the National Weather Service.

Garrett said Mississippi is experiencing hotter weather because of a high pressure system west of Dallas.

That system is moving in a clockwise direction bringing in hotter, dryer air from the northwest, he said.

Because of the dryer air, the state’s dewpoint is also lower than normal.

On Thursday, the dewpoint was 25 percent. Garrett said 50 percent is typical for this time of year.

In most years, the weather is slightly cooler with wetter air because of high pressure systems developing to the east.

&uot;If the high was to the east of us (we would) get winds from the gulf which would be more moist and not as hot,&uot; Garrett said.

Thursday was the seventh day this year Jackson has had temperatures of more than 100 degrees.

The last time Jackson ever had more than five of those days was in 1990 when 12 days reached three digits temperatures, Garrett said.

Around the Miss-Lou, people dealt with the heat in their own way.

&uot;We’ve just been drinking a lot of water and Gatorade,&uot; said Marty Cagle, who works outside at Natchez’s bluff stabilization project.

Cagle said the workers always discuss the heat at their weekly safety meetings are told to drink water.

Linda Bates, director of First Presbyterian Church, said they only take their 18 three and four year-old students outside for short periods of time because of the heat.

Usually, the children stay outside for no more than 15 minutes in the morning and on some days go outside only to come right back in, she said. &uot;We are very fortunate that we have a gym,&uot; Bate said.

Despite the heat, Frazier Primary School Principal Demetria Reed said her students are still having outdoor recess, or &uot;brain breaks,&uot; and have experienced no problems.

Since school started two weeks ago, children have been allowed more opportunities to go to the water fountain, Reed said.

Water seemed to be a common remedy for the heat. Sabrena Bartley, Natchez Senior Citizen Multi Purpose Center executive director, said several seniors have been making use of the center’s indoor pool.

Recent installation of air conditioning in the center came &uot;just in time&uot; for this week’s heat, Bartley said.

Because the elderly are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, the center and the Adams County Health Department hosted an educational program for seniors in early August to provide tips about heat. &uot;We have prepared our seniors to know what to do,&uot; she said.

Thankfully, neither Natchez Community Hospital or Natchez Regional Hospital treated any cases related to the heat Friday.

Local law enforcement and emergency officials also reported no heat-related calls.

Other than drinking more water, Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff said his department is not taking any special measures due to the heat, and Natchez Fire Department Commander Stan Owens said the same.

For people needing help beating the heat, help may be limited. Lamar Braxton, of AJFC Community Action Agency, has a waiting list for people needing help purchasing air conditioners or paying utility bills.

Forest Persons, Natchez Entergy customer service manager, said they have not had any problems providing adequate electricity as of Friday afternoon. &uot;Right now, we’re holding our own,&uot; he said. &uot;We’re in pretty good shape.&uot;

The recent reopening of Natchez Steam Plant has helped supply extra electricity required to beat the heat, Persons said.