The heat is on

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, June 9, 2018

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Swim Time

SWIM TIME – Noah, mom Stephanie, and Addie Vaclavik beat the heat at Fit-N-Wise outdoor pool. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

If May was any indication, we might be in for a hot, dry summer.

While May is typically the wettest month of the year, with an average rainfall of 5.53 inches, Decatur officially received only 2.2 inches for the month.

That brings the year-to-date total to 11.5 inches, which is more than 5 inches below the normal average of 16.65 inches at this point in the year.

Drought has also crept back into our area. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, most of Wise County is now in moderate drought conditions just a couple of months after the area ended its latest drought conditions.

May wasn’t only drier than normal. It was also much warmer than normal.

According to information provided by weather watcher Doyle Green of Decatur, the average high temperature for May was 88 degrees. Since 2010, the average high temperature for May has been only 81 degrees.

Through the end of May, Wise County had already recorded 13 days where temperatures reached at least 90 degrees. That included twice in April and 11 times in May.

The end of the month was particularly hot. From May 18 to the end of the month, the average high temperature was 91 degrees, and that number jumped to 95 degrees during the last six days of the month. Temperatures hit 100 last Saturday with heat indices well over 100.

Not surprisingly, the middle of May is when Wise Health System began seeing patients coming in with heat-related illnesses.

Emergency Room Director Kellye Souther said the ER had seen 13 patients through the end of May, mostly heat exhaustion cases.

“It’s definitely early in the summer for all this. It’s been such a drastic change from 70s and 80s to now hitting 100,” she said.

Patients have been coming in feeling nauseous, weak, dizzy, with headaches and feeling like they are going to pass out.

“If you are working outside and you are getting hot and sweating to the point you need an IV to get fluids, you need to get to the hospital,” Souther said.

She said the easiest way to avoid being overcome by the heat is to just use common sense.

“Do stuff early in the morning and not the peak of the day. Staying hydrated is a big thing. If you are sweating, you are losing fluids. Drink plenty of water. Also, sports drinks have electrolytes you need, too. Take frequent breaks. Work in the shade.”

Decatur Medical Lodge is hosting a fan drive throughout June benefiting Wise County Meals on Wheels. Drop off any table top fan at the facility during the month of June at 701 W. Bennett Road.

Average high temperature for May, since 2010

2010 – 82.5
2011 – 80.5
2012 – 86
2013 – 80.1
2014 – 82.3
2015 – 77.7
2016 – 78.4
2017 – 83.3
2018 – 88

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