Workers, residents cope with summer heat

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Not even a midweek thunderstorm can slow the scorching July temperatures in the Miss-Lou.

A thunderstorm gave brief relief

Wednesday, but left damage to the trees, power outages and most noticeably left the heat. Temperatures just under 100 degrees have outdoor workers, and everyone in the area fanning for a break.

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For workers from Dixie Roofing putting a roof on the Callon building in Natchez, the heat is just part of another day on the job.

&8220;We drink water, Gatorade, you name it we drink it,&8221; 20-year roofing worker Jacky Metoyer said. &8220;It was definitely a lot hotter yesterday, but we&8217;re always just trying to beat the heat.&8221;

The workers said it was hot, but they are used to the extreme summer temperatures after years of experience. One thing never seeming to cool off, they said, was the 575-degree tar they mop onto the roof.

&8220;I&8217;ve been doing it for twenty years, the heat doesn&8217;t bother me,&8221; Robert Henry said while mopping tar in a long sleeved shirt.

Weather forecasts predicting temperatures nearing 100 degrees are the norm in the area this week. A chance of rain is in the forecast for the weekend, but prior to Wednesday&8217;s rain the area&8217;s grounds have not seen water since the beginning of July.

&8220;I&8217;m an outside man anyway,&8221; Ferriday resident Gene A. McKeel said from his perched position under a shade tree. &8220;I don&8217;t care how cold the air conditioner&8217;s blowing, once my eyes open I got to be outside.&8221;

McKeel has recently moved to Ferriday from the north, he said and beating the heat is all in your head.

&8220;It&8217;s cooler today, but it&8217;s going to be hot for a while,&8221; he said. &8220;That heat is coming back.&8221;

Donta Brown, worker at Tracehaven Health and Rehabilitation, said the heat is even affecting the residents involved in his daily duties.

&8220;It&8217;s making us stay in a little more instead of sitting on the porch,&8221; he said. &8220;A lot of them like to come outside and read a newspaper or listen to music, but the heat&8217;s keeping us inside.&8221;

Brown said temperatures in the high 80s keep the residents inside. Small groups, he said, can still go outside and enjoy the outdoor air, but for the most part they stay inside.

The heat has affected farmers, outdoor workers and anyone conducting daily outdoor activities. As far as a quick fix to the heat of the summer days, Ferriday resident P.J. Jefferson said follow his lead.

&8220;I&8217;m just sitting out here under this shade tree trying to enjoy it,&8221; he said. &8220;If it gets too hot, I&8217;m going to the house.&8221;

Workers conducting daily duties out under the hot blanket the sun lays down said it is something they have to do.

&8220;It&8217;s a tough job, but somebody&8217;s got to do it,&8221; roofer Bobby Metoyer said. &8220;When I get off I&8217;m going home and relax and get ready for another day out in it. It&8217;s a living and that&8217;s what it is.&8221;