Friday, June 29, 2012

Atlanta weather | Temps in the 100s forecast; air quality in unhealthy range.

AM NOTE: Temperatures will be in the 100 plus area today. Please do your best to follow the advice of the folks below!

By Mike Morris
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The hottest weather in five years will push metro Atlanta temperatures into the triple digits by Friday and into the weekend, forecasters said.

Georgia has issued a code red air quality alert for metro Atlanta for Friday. That means the outdoor air may be unhealthy for most people. Children, people sensitive to ozone and those with heart and lung disease are considered at great risk, according to the state Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection division. Limit prolonged outdoor exertion, especially during the afternoon and early evening hours when ozone concentrations peak, experts advise.

Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Karen Minton is forecasting highs of 101 on Friday, a steamy 102 on Saturday and 101 on Sunday.

If the forecast holds true, it will mark the first time since August 2007 that Atlanta's high has hit triple digits. During that brutally hot month, temperatures were in the 100s on nine days, topping out at 104 on August 22, 2007.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Atlanta was 105 during the summer of 1980.

Atlanta's high Thursday of 98 was 10 degrees warmer than normal for the date. The warmest reading in metro Atlanta Thursday was 101 in Cartersville, while in Rome, the mercury soared from an early morning low of 58 degrees to an afternoon high of 103.

Minton said the weekend will be dry, with the next chance of rain coming on Monday and Tuesday, when there's a 20 to 30 percent chance.

However, there is some good news, at least for outlying metro Atlanta areas.

Morning lows outside of the perimeter will be in the low 60s during the morning hours, Burns noted. Therefore, the National Weather Service is not issuing a heat advisory at this time.

"We will also have a nice northwest breeze and extremely low humidity," Channel 2 chief meteorologist Glenn Burns said. "The low humidity will actually make the 100 degree heat feel more like the mid 90s."
The heat was already playing a factor early Friday for firefighters battling a blaze in an apparently vacant house on Mayson Turner Road in Atlanta.

"The most important thing for us is short duration of exposure into the fire," Atlanta fire Battalion Chief David Rhodes said.

"Bring them out and get them out of their gear,"
he said. "We get them out and let the air cool them off and get them some water, wet towels on the head, that kind of stuff."
Rhodes told the AJC that he and other fire officials preach a message of hydration to their firefighters.

"They have to constantly be drinking water during the day, building up to the potential of having and incident," Rhodes said. "They can't wait until the incident occurs in order to get themselves up to speed and hydrated."
Rhodes said hydration isn't just a concern when temperatures approach the triple digits.

"With the weight of the gear, even in the wintertime, with the work, our firefighters dehydrate quick," he said. "The heat makes you sweat more, and it's real easy to lose a lot of your body fluids through sweat quickly, and we have issues with potassium and cramping and all that stuff when it gets this hot."
The Weather Service said all residents of north and central Georgia "need to take proper precautions against the heat, including drinking plenty of water and limiting outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day."

And, most important, don't leave any living thing — person or pet — in a hot car. This can quickly lead to tragic consequences, experts say.

Georgia Power spokeswoman Lynn Wallace said there are several things customers can do to help limit the costs of keeping cool during the heat wave:

• Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher and leave it there. For every degree below that setting, you'll use 3 to 4 percent more electricity.

• Set the thermostat even higher when at work or away from home for long periods of time, but no more than 5 degrees higher.

• Invest in a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts your home's temperature to your schedule.

• Change or clean your air filter regularly to maximize the unit's cooling potential.

• Check your windows and doors for a tight fit and apply weather stripping or caulking if needed.

• Use fans whenever possible. Ceiling fans can make the air in a room feel 6 degrees cooler and allow you to save energy.

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