Hot Weather Update

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Batesville firefighter Dexter Chapman chugs bottled water after the fire department responded to an August 13 grass fire near True Value Hardware. The Panolian photo by Billy Davis

Triple-digit temps take long-awaited dip

By Billy Davis

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Daytime temperatures are expected to dip this week with rain showers likely, halting a punishing, two-week stretch of triple-digit heat.

Daytime highs through Friday are expected to be in the mid-90s, according to the National Weather Service forecast. Nighttime lows are expected to drop into the 70s.

A cold front that was moving through the Mid-South Monday was expected to bring isolated thunderstorms this week, and drier and cooler air to the region.

Mid-South temperatures broke 100 degrees eight days during a two-week span, from August 1 to August 14. Those daytime temperatures peaked with a high of 104 degrees on Wednesday, August 4.  

The daytime highs averaged 99 degrees for the two-week period.

The excessive heat was suspected in the August 4 death of David Sanford, 55. Sanford, of Pope, had been working a construction job prior to his death.

A belated autopsy result is still pending, but Sanford likely died of a heart attack brought on by the heat, said Panola County coroner Gracie Grant-Gulledge.

“The heat, I believe, was a contributing factor in Mr. Sanford’s death,” she said.

Tri-Lakes Medical Center, in recent weeks, has treated several cases of heat exhaustion in its emergency room, said a hospital spokesman.

“We’ve treated football players, basketball players, and roofers,” said Mary Katherine DeBardelen, community relations manager.

UPS truck drivers in Batesville have endured the heat without suffering an illness, said Batesville branch manager Steve McMinn.

Inside a UPS truck, the temperature can reach 175 degrees if daytime temperatures are flirting with 100, he said.

The drivers are staying hydrated with water and electrolyte powder, and eating fruit to maintain potassium.

“We tell them that how they conduct themselves away from UPS is a factor,” McMinn said. “They have to get rest and stay hydrated, and watch their diet.”

The late-summer weather was more bearable a year ago: daytime temperatures peaked at 97 on August 15, 2009, with a high of only 83 (and low of 57) recorded on August 23. Daytime highs averaged 92.