Summer is showing up early this year, with triple-digit temperatures toasting the region even before June shows its face.
Extremely hot and dry weather isn’t just unpleasant for most; high temperatures can be dangerous to plants and animals as well as humans, and when the mercury rises, it is time to take precautions, according to Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
However, there aren’t many things area farmers can do about the weather, except pray for rain and irrigate when possible, said Bulloch County Extension Agent Bill Tyson.
The National Weather Service predicts lows in the mid 70’s and highs in the low 100’s through next week, with no chance of rain unless a localized thunderstorm pops up.
“A dome of high pressure” began building over the Southeast Thursday, Wynn said. “This will bring very high temperatures … through Monday and maybe beyond.”
The heat could adversely affect local agriculture. Farmers are trying to finish up planting peanuts and hoping to get cotton planted, with planting deadlines approaching in early June, Tyson said.
Dry ground is a concern, especially since “there is no rain in sight,” and dryland corn is already starting to show signs of stress. For fields with irrigation pivots, “we will have to run water on” the crops, he said.
People with plants and flowers outside should keep them well watered and move potted plants inside or into shaded areas.
Pets and livestock should have plenty of shade and fresh water as well, and smaller pets should be brought inside, Wynn said.
Those working outside should stay hydrated, take frequent breaks and wear light, cool clothing, as well as avoid being outside in the hottest part of the day if possible, he said.
Another point of concern during blistering weather us people who leave children, pets and even elderly persons in vehicles, even for a few minutes, said Statesboro Police Deputy Chief Rob Bryan.
Just don’t do it, he said.
“Do not ever leave children unattended in a vehicle, especially in the summer months,” he said. “Even for a short period of time, temperatures in a vehicle in the summer can rise rapidly to dangerous levels.” Even with the car running and air conditioner on, or windows rolled down, can pose a danger he said.
Statesboro Fire Prevention Chief Stephan Hutchins reminds drivers to double check their cars when leaving them, to make sure no child or pet is forgotten, as has been the case on several occasions across the country. Busy or distracted parents have left children in vehicles, leading to deaths from the heat. “Look before you lock,” he said.
Wynn offered several tips on keeping safe in the sweltering summer heat, including the following:
- ·Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- ·Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, they will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
- Try to limit your outdoor activity to when it’s coolest, like morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to recover.
- Go to a cool ar4ea if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint.
- ·Wear sunscreen: Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated.
- ·Avoid hot and heavy meals and stay hydrated. Drink more fluids, regardless of how active you are. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
Herald reporter Holli
Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.