By Catharin Shepard
Not only is it hot, it’s dangerously hot, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
The agency placed most of the state under a heat advisory or hazardous weather outlook over the last week, and meteorologists warned that the trend of scorching days is likely to continue without a break through the weekend.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hoke County was one of more than a dozen counties under a hazardous weather outlook – while just to the east, Cumberland County and its other neighbors remained under a heat advisory. Summer temperatures soared into the mid- and high-90s during the day and have not been falling below the mid-70s at night. Heat index readings have shot into the triple digits, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
“A prolonged stretch of dangerous afternoon heat index values between 100 and 105 degrees is expected through the weekend,” meteorologists said in the special weather statement.
Signs of heat exhaustion
include heavy sweating, pale skin, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting or fainting. Signs of heat stroke include an extremely high body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, red and hot skin with no sweat, a rapid strong pulse, dizziness, confusion or unconsciousness. People with head stroke need immediate medical attention, while people with heat exhaustion should seek medical help if symptoms get worse or continue for more than an hour.
The National Weather Service offered tips to help citizens stay safe during periods of extreme heat:
When working outdoors, stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade as often as possible.
Never leave children or pets in a car, and “look before you lock” to make sure children or animals aren’t accidentally left behind. Even with a window cracked, temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly become fatal.
Limit strenuous outdoor activities as much as possible, and consider taking care of activities in the cooler morning or evening hours.
Check up on sick, elderly and those without air conditioning.
The Hoke County Senior Services senior center at the L.E. McLaughlin building/Old Armory on East Central Avenue in Raeford is open weekdays during business hours for seniors to come in and cool off from the heat. The county department also has a fan program that gives away box fans to seniors, Della Smith of Hoke County Senior Services said.
“Any senior in Hoke County who does not have a working AC unit can come and get one,” she said.
The program is donation-based and supplies are limited. There are a few fans in stock now for seniors who need them, Smith said.
To pick up a fan, residents must bring a picture I.D. of the individual with date of birth and address in Hoke County. The fans are for people 60 and older or people with disabilities who have a home situation where extended high temperatures may threaten the person’s health and wellbeing. People who have received a fan in the last two years do not qualify to receive another one at this time.
To donate a box fan to help a senior citizen, drop off fans at Senior Services, 423 East Central Avenue. For information on programs offered for seniors, call 875-8588.
To help kids cool off, the splash pad is open for the summer at the Hoke County Recreation Complex, located at 3195 Red Springs Road. The splash pad is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sundays 1-7 p.m.
For more tips on heat safety, visit https://www.ready.gov/heat.