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Monday June 1st, 2020 7:42AM

Don't sweat it: You can beat the heat

By Mitch Clarke Director of News and Content

Get ready for a hot Memorial Day weekend. No, really. Scorching hot, even.

A heat wave is building over the southeastern United States as the holiday weekend begins, and it could shatter records in some areas that date back more than a century. Temperatures could approach the century mark from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee through the Carolinas and parts of Virginia.

In Gainesville, temperatures are forecast to soar in to the mid and upper 90s through Monday, more than 15 degrees higher than average for this time of year. In Gainesville, it will be 94 on Saturday, 95 on Sunday and 96 on Memorial Day, AccessWDUN meteorologist John Weatherbee said.

“It will probably reach the hundreds across parts of central Georgia, setting some records,” he said. “No records for Gainesville, but it’s going to be hot.”

And no rain is in the forecast for North Georgia, at least through Wednesday, Weatherbee said.

The good news, if there is any, is that the heat could peak this weekend, but the last week of May will still be brutally hot.

While the hot and dry weather is good for cookouts and time on the lake, it can be dangerous for people who do not take necessary precautions while outdoors.

Weatherbee said people can do some simple things to deal with the extreme heat this weekend. Among his tips:

  • Avoid prolong heat exposure. “Don’t stay outside for over an hour, unless you really, absolutely have to,” he said. “And with that in mind, take plenty of breaks. Get out of the heat, maybe into the air conditioning. Or even a shade tree would be fine.”
  • Stay hydrated. Start to drink water before you feel thirsty. Avoid booze and sports drinks with lots of sugar.
  • Get outside jobs done early in the day. 
  • Wear loose fitting, light weight clothing and no black t-shirts
  • Pay special attention to your kids. “Kids don’t understand heat so watch your children,” Weatherbee said. “Red cheeks that look flushed could be early signs of heat problems.”
  • Be smart about watering your lawn. “Long, deep watering just before sunrise is best and you don’t have to do it but once a week,” he said. “Don’t worry, your lawn will be fine.”
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 35. Reapply often. 
  • Cover your head. “Lightweight hats are a good idea, especially if they breathe,” Weatherbee said.
  • Don’t leave kids of pets in the hot car. “Temperatures can zoom over 160 degree in a very short time,” he said.
  • Check on friends and neighbors who may be at risk for heat-related issues, including people who are over 65, who are overweight or who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.

You can get more tips on heat safety on the American Red Cross website.

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