By BRIAN SMITH
Texans don’t mind a little heat, but even the recent rash of hot days has had most people scrambling for the air conditioning.
Some of the hottest weather of the year has been forecast over the last day or two and is expected to continue through the week before some cooler – or less hot – temperatures arrive for the weekend.
Wednesday’s local high hit 106 degrees Fahrenheit, which was the day’s forecast high. Today’s projected high is 104 degrees, with a heat index (affects of humidity added in) of two-to-three additional degrees.
There are those that can’t get cooler as easily, including those who work outside for their daily wage.
Many are working on the South Main Street construction project, including Luis Serna, who was pouring concrete Tuesday morning.
“It’s some brutal stuff right now,” Serna said. “That’s why we’re trying to do this in the early part of the day before it really gets bad.”
Serna said crews have been outside pouring concrete near WalMart in the predawn hours to ensure the concrete sets properly. If it gets too hot, it doesn’t “cure right” and can cause issues down the road.
Serna, who has been in the concrete business for more than 30 years, says the best way to keep cool and handle the heat is to drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks.
“There’s the old joke about one guy working and four standing around. We’re not just standing around. We’re taking a break so we don’t overdo it,” Serna said. “We then rotate around.”
Others working out in the heat include landscaping employees. Rory Townsend with Townsend’s Tree and Lawn Care from Perrin, says he prefers frozen towels that soak in hydrogen peroxide spirits, that
can be purchased from pharmacies, as a way to stay cool.
“Those will stay cool for hours and that’s great when you can’t afford to take a break,” Townsend said. “People still want their lawns and trees taken care of, no matter the temperature.”
His cohort, LaAndre Tompkins, says they have been staying busy in recent days but prefers to use a bit of “good old common sense” when dealing with the heat.
“Take your time and do a good job,” Tompkins said. “The work will still be there. I need to make sure I’m able to do it.”
The pair estimate they drink two or three gallons of water a day, along with the towels, to get through the 12-hour days the pair are working.
Drinking cold caffeine drinks only take more fluids out of you while outside. Cold water with a bit of salt helps keep the body functioning normally.
Football heating up
Local high school football practices begin Monday, and Weatherford ISD and the coaching staff say they will take proper precautions with the personnel and the heat.
“All student athletes, trainers, managers, and coaches will have access to water at all times,” WISD Executive Director of Athletics Richard Scoggin said. “Also, we have two athletic trainers (not to mention our many student trainers) on hand who are trained to handle these types of conditions.”
Scoggin also said the district subscribes to a weather service called SkyGuard that provides real-time information for coaches to access. That way, they will know when extreme heat is approaching the Weatherford area.
“The first week of two-a-day workouts is really an acclimation period for the student athletes,” Scoggin added. “University Interscholastic League rules require four consecutive days for athletes to go without full pads – this means shirts, shorts, and helmets only.”
Scoggin also said WHS head football coach Weldon Nelms and his staff will be very cautious about the heat.
The Kangaroo varsity football team travels to Richland on Aug. 26 for its season opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
While triple-digit highs are forecast today and Friday, the weekend could see a snap in the recent string of 100-degree readings.
With a slight chance of a thunderstorm late Friday or early Saturday, Saturday’s high could top out at 99 degrees with 97 degrees predicted as the high Sunday and Monday.
Currently no ban on outdoor burning is in effect for Parker County, but that could change Monday as Parker County Commissioners will consider reinstating the ban.
Recent rainfall amounts are below average, and the forecast through August by the National Weather Service calls for no significant amounts of rainfall at present.
The Texas Drought Report, published by the Texas Water Development Board, shows Parker County is currently in severe drought conditions.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the power grid for 85 percent of Texas, said despite the high heat, the state’s electric grid was operating under well under capacity on Wednesday.
That is a change from previous extreme summers when the demand was more than the grid could handle, causing some rolling brownouts across the state. So far this summer, that has not been the case, ERCOT officials said.