TUPELO – Northeast Mississippians should get used to scorching high temperatures, at least until mid-September.
Wednesday’s 106 degrees was a record high, and 100-degree days will be mainstays throughout the area for a while, according to Danny Gant, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Memphis.
Gant said the extremely high temperatures are consistent with a recent trend.
“This type of brutal heat unfortunately has been normal for Mississippi over the past couple of years,” Gant said. “The beginning of August through mid-September has been the hottest time of the year. Temperatures will stay in the 100s to upper 90s all through September, so people better try to get used to it.”
Gant said seeing a temperature gauge read triple digits isn’t such a big deal, but when the heat index hits those numbers it can be dangerous. The heat index is defined as a measurement of the air temperature in relation to the relative humidity, used as an indicator of discomfort. The heat index is higher when high air temperatures occur with high humidity.
“The temperature may say 100, but the heat index will say 115 and that’s what people should pay attention to because that’s what we feel,” Gant said.
Dr. Joe Johnsey, assistant medical director of the emergency room at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, said many people have come into the emergency room to be treated for heat-related injuries the past few weeks.
“Most of the people are suffering from heat exhaustion and some even from muscle breakdown,” Johnsey said. “And it comes from people being out in the heat and overdoing it. Most people say that they weren’t doing much at all, but in this type of heat it doesn’t take much.”
Thursday’s thunderstorms provided a 30-degree relief from the heat, but they brought their own problems.
Trees were down, some on houses, in and around Tupelo and Lee County, and power was out in several areas.
The iconic Tupelo Hardware had a tin awning destroyed by strong gusts of wind. Nearby the BancorpSouth Arena, City Hall and Hilton Garden Inn saw minor damage as well. In Saltillo, City Park suffered damage from the afternoon storm, and most of the town lost power Thursday afternoon.
Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal