Triple digit temperatures gone for now

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 4, 2010

NATCHEZ — National Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Fairly expects the stifling heat and humidity blanketing Natchez and surrounding areas to let up a little after today.

The NWS office in Jackson has issued a heat advisory in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. The area was under an excessive heat warning until 7 a.m. today. An excessive heat warning means that a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures will occur. Fairly said it is unlikely the excessive heat warning will be extended.

Fairly said conditions today do not appear to be as extreme as Tuesday, when temperatures reached 100 degrees and resulted in a heat index of 110 degrees. Temperatures are expected to reach 98 degrees today with a heat index as high as 108.

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Temperatures Sunday and Monday were just a couple of degrees shy of breaking weather records. Highs reached 100 degrees on both days, falling short of the 1962 record-highs of 101 and 102 degrees.

“We’re hoping the triple digits and real high humidity will calm down a bit,” Fairly said. “We’ll be in the mid-to-upper 90s for the next day or two, and lower-to-mid 90s by the end of the week.”

Those whose jobs require outdoor exposure hope Fairly’s predictions are correct.

As Frank Jenkins sat under the shaded carport at Old Standard Service Center on the corner of Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr. streets Tuesday afternoon, the mercury was nearing triple digits.

“I’ve got the fans on, I’m drinking lots of water and we wash the cars in shady spots,” Jenkins said. “It’s extremely hot out here.

“(The weather) does hurt business. Everybody’s staying inside, and a car wash is the last thing on their mind.”

Mike Folds and James Hinson were also braving the heat on State Street. The men sat in plastic chairs outside the former Canal Street Depot, awaiting customers for the city’s signature horse drawn carriage tours.

“We drink a lot of water, we stay in the shade, and we keep the horses in the shade and make sure they have plenty of water,” Folds said. “It’s always really hot this time of year, but we do what we need to do year after year.”

“This is the hottest I’ve seen it. I can’t ever remember it being this hot,” Hinson said. “You can feel a little breeze blowing, thank God. That helps a little.”

“There’s nowhere to go but down from here,” Folds said.

The NWS warns the high heat and humidity could cause illnesses, and recommends people drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, stay in an air conditioned environment and check on elderly relatives or neighbors.

Hot weather also tends to cause power outages due to the increased use of air conditioning, but Entergy spokesperson Jim Hedges said so far the electric grid is holding its own.

“We’re not having any problems due to the heat,” Hedges said. “The hot weather tends to stress our system, but so far we’re functioning and we have plenty of power supply available.”