Oppressive heat can turn dangerous

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Another day of record heat had South Mississippians trying their best to keep cool. Temperatures in the upper 90s are beyond unpleasant, they can also be dangerous.

Fresh produce covered the vendor tables at the Gulfport farmer's market Tuesday morning. High temperatures haven't kept loyal customers away. But the heat wave is taking a toll in the fields.

"The crops is not doing as well this year because the heat is pretty bad this year. Everything is not producing like it usually does," said vendor Cuppie Smith.

Those who pick the produce are also suffering.

"The other day, I told my daddy we had to stop for a few minutes. It got up to 105 degrees out there and was rising still. It was hot, believe me," Smith said.

Fresh tomatoes are tempting.  But this weather is more watermelon friendly.

"You put it in a cooler and you get it real cold and you go sit on the beach and eat you a watermelon," said Smith.

"It's been hot. We either stay inside, or stay in the water," said Katherine Decoito.

She was with a mothers of pre-schoolers group from Cedar Lake Assembly. They held a play day at the West Gulfport splash pad.

"We brought 'em out to the water, got 'em under the trees. I even have an umbrella in the car in case the trees aren't good enough," she said.

While some families got soaked at the splash pad, others headed for the water and breezes at the beach; anything to escape the unbearable summer sun.

Sure this afternoon heat is uncomfortable, oppressive, some might even say miserable.  But with record high temperatures and heat indexes in the triple digits, it can also be dangerous.

"One of the primary things you have to worry about of course is heat stroke. And when you have heat stroke that can cause cardiac arrest. It's a life threatening emergency and it's nothing to play with," said Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan.

Drink plenty of water, stay indoors during the heat of the afternoon if you can, and do whatever it takes to stay cool.

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