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Local News

Get ready for some sweltering heat

July 11th, 2011 10:35 pm by Madison Mathews

On this date in 1988, the temperature in the Tri-Cities rose to a rather toasty 95 degrees.
That record high recorded by the National Weather Service in Morristown isn’t expected to be broken today, according to meteorologist Terry Getz, but today is expected to be the hottest day of the summer so far.
While the mercury is expected to rise to a high of 94 today, Getz said there’s a possibility of cooler temperatures if a series of thunderstorms moves into the area from the Ohio Valley this morning.
“That’s gonna take the edge off the heat, but right now, we pretty much have low to mid to upper 90s for Tuesday,” he said. “You’ll probably flirt with the record high, unless that complex of storms moves in.”
Getz said record highs for July typically run in the upper 90s, and aren’t all that unusual for this time of year. Normal high temperatures for the month of July usually stay in the upper 80s, which is what the area is expected to see the rest of the week.
“I don’t think it’s all that unusual to see mid- to high 90s in July, cause this is a typical pattern to have set up in the summer,” he said.
The real culprit for the uncomfortable temperatures is the humidity, Getz said.
“When you combine dew point temperatures in the upper 60s, plus highs in the low to mid-90s, it is uncomfortably humid,” he said.
On Wednesday, a possible cold front might move in, bringing another series of thunderstorms, which Getz said could make the temperature four or five degrees cooler.
With a heat advisory in effect from noon until 8 p.m. today, area physicians are urging people to stay safe in the sun.
There are several steps that can be taken in order to avoid heat exhaustion and heatstroke ­— two of the leading causes of heat-related injuries and deaths.
“In extreme cases, a person could have a seizure and die,” said Dr. Garik Misenar, chairman of emergency medicine at Johnson City Medical Center.
Misenar said limiting your exposure to the heat and sun, staying hydrated, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which dehydrate the body, and knowing when you’ve had enough are some of the best ways to beat the heat.
“Some of the effects of heat exposure include feeling cold, you could stop sweating, nausea, muscle cramps and passing out,” he said.
Heat exposure also increases the risk of heart attacks, and the hospital expects to see an increase in them because of the heat. The JCMC is also seeing a lot of people coming in who have passed out or are experiencing muscle cramps.
In addition to staying safe in the heat, there are also several ways to save some money when it comes to your power bills during the hot summer months, which can see an increase in energy use, according to Johnson City Power Board communications specialist JT McSpadden.
“Our peak as a system occurs traditionally in the wintertime, however TVA’s (Tennessee Valley Authority) peak is in the summer, and even though our system is more than capable of handling it, it’s still good for people to be conscientious not only for their own energy bills, but also for the sake of the TVA system as a whole,” he said.
Anytime the JCPB exceeds the TVA peak capacity, they have to purchase additional power, which ultimately drives energy rates higher, McSpadden said.
Simple measures like turning the thermostat up two degrees, waiting until after 8 p.m. to wash dishes or do laundry, cooking outside on a grill or using a ceiling fan when possible are all ways to combat high energy bills.
“All of that stuff can add up,” McSpadden said.

Press Staff Writer Felicia Lambdin contributed to this report.

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