Dan­ger­ous heat wave falls across South, but some re­lief is on way

The Island Packet - - Front Page - BY JEFF MARTIN AND JAY REEVES As­so­ci­ated Press

Sti­fling heat smoth­ered states from Texas to South Carolina on Tues­day with tem­per­a­tures that felt like 120 de­grees, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to be out­side for long, much less work or play.

As the en­tire South­east baked amid heat warn­ings and ad­vi­sories that reached from cen­tral Texas to coastal Ge­or­gia, con­struc­tion work­ers toiled un­der a blaz­ing sun in Louisiana. Alabama’s largest city opened its au­di­to­rium as a refuge for any­one need­ing to cool down.

Some schools and coaches limited foot­ball prac­tice for play­ers get­ting ready for the up­com­ing sea­son, and so­cial me­dia was dot­ted with pho­tos show­ing au­to­mo­bile ther­mome­ters with triple-digit read­ings.

Fore­cast­ers said a cold front and storms could lead to a slight mid­week cool down, but for the mean­time it was just too hot.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said the af­ter­noon heat in­dex, a com­bi­na­tion of tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity, climbed to 120 de­grees in Clarks­dale, Mis­sis­sippi, nearly hit­ting the 121 de­grees it felt like Mon­day. Read­ings were nearly as high in cities in­clud­ing Dy­ers­burg, Ten­nessee, and West Mem­phis, Arkansas.

In down­town Birm­ing­ham, Alabama, a pi­ano-play­ing side­walk evan­ge­list sought refuge from the sun with two um­brel­las – one over his head and the other on his sunny side.

Around the corner, artist Henry L. McShan sold his wa­ter­color land­scapes in a shady spot be­side a park. Tem­per­a­tures in Birm­ing­ham were al­ready in the 90s Tues­day morn­ing and topped 100 de­grees later.

“I’m go­ing to be here all day. I’ve got sev­eral bot­tles of wa­ter. I’m ready for it,” said McShan, his face glis­ten­ing with sweat.

It was just as siz­zling along the Gulf Coast in south Alabama and along the Florida Pan­han­dle. The heat in­dex hit 117 be­fore noon Tues­day in the Mo­bile, Alabama, area. Pen­sacola saw a heat in­dex of 115, also be­fore noon.

The heat in­dex in the hottest ar­eas should be 15 to 20 de­grees cooler Wed­nes­day, ac­cord­ing to the weather ser­vice.

Heat ex­haus­tion and heat stroke are prime threats dur­ing heat waves, ac­cord­ing to the

fed­eral Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion.

In Kansas, a 2-year-old boy died af­ter he was found alone in a parked car in the af­ter­noon heat Sun­day. It ap­pears heat played a role in the child’s death, Lawrence Po­lice Chief Gregory Burns Jr. said in a state­ment Mon­day. The heat in­dex was 96 at the time, the weather ser­vice said.

In Texas, TXU En­ergy asked its cus­tomers to dial back their ther­mostats be­tween 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tues­day due to the ex­treme heat. The Elec­tric Re­li­a­bil­ity Coun­cil of Texas, which over­sees parts of the state’s power grid, said it set an peak de­mand record Mon­day.

In Louisiana, road work­ers were urged to pro­tect them­selves from the heat, said Erin Buchanan, a spokes­woman with the Louisiana Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and De­vel­op­ment.

“Ev­ery sum­mer, we know we’re go­ing to en­counter some ex­treme heat,” she said. “They know to take mul­ti­ple breaks. They know to stay hy­drated.”

Heat alerts stretched as far east as the Up­state area of South Carolina.

In Spar­tan­burg, the Carolina Pan­thers and Buf­falo Bills prac­ticed to­gether be­fore a pre­sea­son NFL game in Char­lotte, North Carolina. Over the week­end, Pan­thers coach Ron Rivera had some fun with Bills coach Sean McDer­mott, send­ing a screen­shot of the heat in­dex in Spar­tan­burg, South Carolina. It showed 110 de­grees along with an or­ange emoji face drip­ping with sweat.

“A psy­cho­log­i­cal game,” Rivera joked.

GER­ALD HER­BERT AP

Con­struc­tion worker Di­neose Var­gas wipes his face Tues­day at a site on the Dun­can Canal in Ken­ner, La.

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