Revised on: 06.22.2018 at 10:12 a.m.
Posted on: 06.22.2018 at 11:00 a.m.
By Jefferson Weaver
The first triple-digit temperature documented here since 2015 was recorded Wednesday afternoon.
Meteorologist Chris Cawley’s weather station in Whiteville hit the misery mark at 3:11 p.m. Wednesday.
“Our last 100-degree day that I measured in the Whiteville area was when I was living seven miles northwest of town in 2015,” he said. “It was 102.2 on June 16, 2015, and 102.0 on June 17, 2015. There were 7 days between 99.0 and 99.9 in July 2016, but none over the 100 mark.”
Meteorologist Chris Cawley’s weather station recorded the sultry news Wednesday.
The heat forced many outside workers to make adjustments to their daily schedule. At Nolan Park in Whiteville, Parks and Recreation Director Blake Spivey said his workers were coming in an hour earlier and taking extra water breaks.
“We have a district tournament coming up this weekend, so everything has to be just right,” he said. “It’s tough out there, but we’re getting it done.”
Columbus Regional Healthcare System saw its first heat-related case Wednesday, according to Vice President Terrie Priest, but the hospital expects to see more.
“Donna Hill of our Emergency Department said they anticipate seeing some cases of overheating in the coming days,” she said.
Work on several construction projects – notably the re-roofing of the old Courthouse in Whiteville, and the bridge at Lake Waccamaw – was halted during the heat of the day Tuesday and Wednesday, and utility workers in most area towns were taking extra steps to avoid the hardest jobs during the hottest part of the day.
Kim Smith of the Columbus County Health Department said staying cool and hydrated should be everyone’s focus during the summer months, but especially on triple-digit days like those now hitting the county.
“Try to stay inside during the hottest part of the day,” she said. “For people who work, especially those who work outside, it’s difficult to stay out of the heat. Just remember to take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of water.”
Drivers should also think twice before putting pets or children into a vehicle.
“This is not the type of weather to leave anything in your car, living or not,” she said. “Be extremely careful. A tip they’ve been showing on the national news is to leave your left shoe in the backseat – that way you have a reason to look back there.”
Smith said it’s also a good time to check on the elderly, neighbors and your pets at home.
“Make sure your pets have fresh, cool water,” she said. “Seniors and some people with medical conditions have a harder time in this weather. Be sure they are staying cool and hydrated.”
Last year, Cawley’s highest recorded temperature didn’t quite make the 100-mark.
“My highest measurement in 2017, living in the city, was 99.7 on July 15,” he said.
With the official start to summer occurring tomorrow, June 21, Cawley pointed out that it could still get worse. Triple-digit temperatures in the area are not unusual in mid-June, but the hottest days could be yet to come.
“The highest temp I have ever recorded was when I lived out on Peacock Road,” he said. “That was 106.5 on June 30, 2012.”
Developing regional weather patterns are showing early indications of a hot, wet summer and slightly more active hurricane season this fall, according to the National Weather Service.