Visitors, locals try to keep the cool in the high heat - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Visitors, locals try to keep the cool in the high heat

A mission group from Oklahoma City enjoys the beach Sunday under their umbrella. A mission group from Oklahoma City enjoys the beach Sunday under their umbrella.
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Despite a respite brought by an early evening thunderstorm, Sunday had the highest heat index recorded so far this year.

WLOX meteorologist Wesley Williams said the index hovered between 115 to 118.

But that didn't stop many from enjoying the outside and finding their own way to cool off.

It was a great day for Amber Wall and her family. She wanted to come to Gulfport from Purvis to enjoy her family and, yes, the heat.

And she found a good place for both. The Jones Park splash pad.

“I don’t want to stay inside because it’s really hot today and I want to enjoy the weather,” she said. “I want to enjoy the heat. Even though it’s hot, you want to enjoy it and be out in the water and have some family time.”

Williams said the numbers show there aren’t too many hours of the day that’s good to be outdoors.

“It’s particularly dangerous to be out and about any later than really about 10 a.m.,” he said. “That’s when the heat index really rises above 100 and then it looks like it stays that way until about 7 o'clock in the evening. Right after sunset, you’ll see it kind of go down a little bit.”

But beach vendors can’t afford to stay indoors.

Many say they are used to the temperatures, but they take precautions.

“I normally stay underneath the shade and I take a lot of water with me so I don’t get dehydrated,” said Tara Tuppatsch, who has been a vendor in Gulfport for two years. “And also I go in the water and a play there, so I keep myself nice and cool.”

On this day, a group on a mission trip from Oklahoma City wanted some beach fun, but they knew where the cool spot was: around the umbrella.

“We’re just trying to enjoy the sun,” said Jakob Bakhtiari. “It’s a beautiful day on the Gulf. We’re here with good friends, good company. Got food, water. The heat is a little overwhelming but it’s nothing we’re not use to.”

The warning, Williams said, isn’t to be taken lightly.

“It’s the highest level hot weather alert that the national weather service can issue,” he said. “So it’s more important than ever to have maximum precautions against that heat.”

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