By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – It’s so hot and so dry a fisherman complained of finding a tick on a catfish.
The seasons changed this past weekend. But, with temperatures already in the high 90s, not many people seem to notice the summer solstice. Most were too busy sweating.
Saturday at the Crawford Sports Complex there were almost as many electric fans as there were sports fans for the Water Valley Invitational Baseball Tournament. The area on both sides of the walkways looked like a tent city as spectators erected portable shelters.
Those who didn’t have tents popped parasols and beach umbrellas to block off the sun. Others gathered under the handful of trees scattered around the complex. Batesville visitors Leslie and Karlee Darby said they were thankful for the shade.
Jeff and Patsy Oliphant of Oxford cheered for their nephew from underneath umbrellas attached to their fold-up chairs. “It’s hot,” said Jeff, “But the breeze helps.”
Others manufactured their own breeze like Sgt. Bubba Jackson of the Water Valley Police Department who was working the tournament detail. Jackson used a “CoolCop” attachment to his car’s air conditioner to blow air inside his protective vest.
The device, which Jackson purchased himself, is as much about keeping the officer functioning in extreme heat as it is about comfort. Police body armor matched with a dark blue uniform is not exactly warm weather attire.
So far, the high temps have not caused any problems for the Water Valley Electric Department, according to Manager Joe Newman.
In order to conserve electricity and save money, customers should be conscious of their power usage, Newman recommended. “Dress a little lighter and push your thermostat up a couple of notches. And, try to stay in during the heat of the day if you can.”
The Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association hasn’t experienced any problems with their system either, said spokesperson Marlin Williams.
He added that customers could save money by limiting the use of their ovens for cooking. Instead use the microwave or barbecue grill more often.
He also suggested lighting your home with compact fluorescent bulbs that give off virtually no heat, use much less electricity and last ten times longer.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency advises people to take precautions to protect themselves and their homes from the hot weather.
MEMA recommends that you:
• Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun;
• Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available;
• Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and other community facilities;
• Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician;
• Drink plenty of water. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake;
• Limit intake of alcoholic beverages;
• Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes ;
• Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone;
• Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles; and
• Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day.
Take Precautions During Hot Weather
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency advises people to take precautions to protect themselves during the hot weather.
MEMA warns of these signs of heat exhaustion:
• Heavy sweating but skin may be cool, pale or flushed;
• Weak pulse;
• Normal body temperature is possible, but temperature will likely rise;
• Fainting or dizziness, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion and headaches are possible.
They recommend calling 911 immediately if someone shows these symptoms of heat stroke;
• High body temperature (105+);
• Hot, red, dry skin;
• Rapid, weak pulse and rapid shallow breathing;
• Victim will probably not sweat unless victim was sweating from recent strenuous activity;
• Possible unconsciousness.
For more information visit www.msema.org/preparedness.