With temperatures forecasted to reach the hundreds through next Friday, the Early Police Department issued public service announcement advising residents how to stay safe during what is considered the area’s first major heat wave of the summer.
In a Facebook post by the city of Early Police Department Tuesday, following a statement by the National Weather Service, officials advised to take frequent water breaks, and with the heat increasing the likelihood of heat related illnesses such as heat stroke and exhaustion, to keep a close eye on young children and the elderly.
Officials with the EPD advised residents, according to the statement, the very young, elderly, those without air conditioning and those participating in strenuous activities will be the most susceptible and take frequent water breaks if working or playing outdoors. Also, car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.
“We don’t have an official heat advisory right now,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Wingenroth said. “It looks like [Wednesday] will be the start. We are still talking about whether we are going to issue a heat advisory or go with an excessive heat warning tomorrow, which will go through the weekend.”
According to the National Weather Service, the difference between an excessive heat warning and a heat advisory is that a heat advisory asks citizens to take precautions in order to avoid heat related illness while an excessive heat warning asks to keep close attention to those most susceptible to heat-related illness and alerts area hospitals as well as city and county officials to be prepared. The NWS further stated after 103 degrees, heat-related motility increases exponentially as temperatures rise. The high temperatures for the next week are forecast to be at or above 104 degrees. With the area experiencing drought conditions throughout the summer, Wingenroth said the low humidity will keep the heat index down but the dry ground will reflect the heat back up and potentially exacerbate heat-related illnesses.
“We have a very strong ridge of high pressure that is going to be expanding over Texas into the weekend,” Wingenroth said. “Anytime you have a strong ridge of high pressure like that during the summer time, it usually means a lot of sinking air. With no precipitation, temperatures can get quite hot … We have not had much rainfall, the ground is dry and can perpetuate the hot temperatures because you don’t have that moisture available in the ground. It’s drying out more and more. It’s easier to get hotter in this situation.”
As the temperatures continue to rise, a place area children and adults may seek refuge is the Camp Bowie Family Aquatic Center. Despite being surrounded by thousands of gallons of water, lifeguard Tyler Thompson said that does not remove the risk heat-related illnesses, but pool has procedures in place to keep the pool’s staff and its patrons safe. With lifeguards spending most of their day exposed to the sun, Thompson said lifeguards frequently take dips in the pool to keep cool and stay alert, take a 15-minute breaks every hour and constantly stay hydrated. When temperatures reach the triple digits, he said he keeps a close eye on visitors, looking for symptoms of exhaustion.
“The water is very exhausting. People don’t think it is, but whenever you go home after being at the pool all day all you want to do is sleep,” Thompson said. “That is just natural, but when it gets hot it gets worse and exhausts you faster. We definitely want to keep our eyes open and make sure no one gets super exhausted while they’re out here.”
He said the pool has free cups of water and anyone experiencing signs of exhaustion or dehydration.
“We make cups water available and have water fountains all over,” Thompson said. “Of course, some people drink from the pool. That’s not good, but it happens. People stay pretty hydrated while they are here.”