06/09/08 — Temperatures expected to top 100 again today

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Temperatures expected to top 100 again today

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 9, 2008 1:59 PM

A heat wave striking earlier than normal has Wayne County and most of the rest of the state suffering from temperatures that topped 100 degrees over the weekend.

Forecasters are calling for more of the same today, with a slight cooling Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to reach only the upper 90s.

Three heat-related illnesses have been reported to Wayne Memorial Hospital since temperatures began to rise last Thursday, officials said.

Wayne residents can expect to bake through another 100-degree day today before temperatures begin a slow decline to the lower 90s and upper 80s by the end of the week -- still above the season average of the mid-80s.

There is a 20 percent chance of rain late Tuesday, a 30 percent chance on Wednesday and a 30-40 percent chance through the rest of the work week.

The heat wave has cooked the state since last Wednesday with June 7 setting a record as the earliest that 100 degrees has been recorded, said Russell Henes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

Kevin Lee of the emergency unit at Wayne Memorial Hospital said there has been an upswing in the number of heat-related complaints seen at the emergency room.

Lee said that federal law prevented him from being more specific about the health complaints. He said it is possible that heat was a factor in other case, but that the patient might not have been a patient's major complaint. None of the case were serious enough to require the patients to be admitted to the hospital or being transferred to another facility.

"There has definitely been a slight increase in heat-related complaint," he said.

However, he said the number "is not as many as you might think."

Meanwhile, WAGES and the Wayne County Services on Aging are stilling waiting on funding that will be used to purchase fans for the needy.

Brownie Doss, head of the WAGES nutrition program for the elderly, said they a letter had been sent to persons in the meal program warning about the adverse affects of the heat and encouraging them to drink plenty of water.

Also, bottles of water with stickers about drinking water have been sent as well.

Volunteers who deliver the meals to participants are also checking on the elderly "to see how they are doing and to remind them about water," she said.

The blistering temperatures have air-conditioning companies on the go.

"We've been busy, extremely busy," said Ron Carter, service manager for Jackson & Sons Heating and Air Conditioning. "The extreme conditions are making some of the units break down.

He said many breakdowns could be prevented by maintenance before the hot weather arrives.

People working outdoors are taking special precautions to avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

Kendall Lee of Kendall Lee Construction was working on a church addition today near Rones Chapel. He said that his crew started work earlier than usual in an attempt to beat the heat and takes a longer break during midday.

"You just can't stand it out there," he said, adding that workers stop to drink liquids regularly and try to stay in the shade as much as possible.

"That's about all you can do," he said.