Beat The Heat

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Temps expected to hit 100-plus next three days 

By John Howell Sr. and Billy Davis

A cool shelter plan developed in late June for people in homes without air conditioning is available during the extreme heat forecast for the first week in August, Panola Sheriff Otis Griffin said.

The sheriff then asked for at least one church in north Panola County and one in the south to volunteer to open doors to air conditioned facilities from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily as shelters.

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“The door’s still open,” Griffin said, though no one took advantage of the program when it was first initiated a little over one month ago.

The extreme heat in late June broke in early July, postponing a crisis until a return with this week’s forecast for 100-plus-degree days.

Daytime temperatures are expected to peak at 103 degrees Wednesday then drop to 100 Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

The triple-digit temperatures should drive the heat index as high as 115 degrees.

Rain? Forget about it.

Panola County recorded three heat-related deaths last year, in Pope, Batesville, and in the Mt. Olivet community.

All three heat victims were elderly and had insufficient cooling in their homes, said Panola County coroner Gracie Grant-Gulledge.

“They don’t want to get out of that ‘comfort zone,’” Griffin said of senior citizens’ reluctance to leave their homes, even in hot weather.

 “With the heat we’re having now, we want them to call us,” Griffin said.

People without transportation who need shelter from the heat can call the sheriff’s department at 563-6230 or 487-1112 for a ride.