By Patrick Massey
MENA – The region is bracing for what is likely to be the hottest week of the year so far with temperatures consistently hovering at or above 100 degrees.
A significant heatwave settled into the region over the weekend, bringing heat indexes as high as 119 this past Sunday. The triple-digit temperatures are expected to remain through the end of the upcoming weekend.
An Excessive Heat Warning went into effect for Southwest Arkansas, Southeast Oklahoma and Northeast Texas earlier this week and is likely to remain in place through the Saturday. Dangerously hot conditions with heat index values up to or exceeding 110 degrees are expected throughout the region. Forecasters stress that the extreme heat and lingering humidity will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities.
The threat posed by these dangerously hot temperatures prompted school officials to push back the start of the Bearcat’s game against the De Queen Leopards this Friday to 8 p.m.
It can’t be stressed enough the importance to staying mindful to the danger of these conditions: drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room if possible, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors, especially the elderly. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.
Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency and anyone displaying symptoms should be medically treated immediately.