If you thought it was hot last week, just wait, the hot weather isn’t ending before the end of the month, if then, according to the National Weather Service.
The Paris area saw highs in the low 90s last week and, coupled with high humidity, heat index readings in the 100 to 107 degree range.
And it’s hotter this week. According to the National Weather Service forecast, highs for the rest of this week are going to be in the mid and upper 90s with humidity readings between 54 percent and 65 percent. That guarantees heat index readings above 105 degrees and, likely, the issuance of heat warnings.
Last week’s hot weather saw water and electricity usage in Paris rise, according the employees with the city of Paris.
“There’ll be an increase in usage,” said Roger Goodson, supervisor of the city’s electrical department. “Last July, we used 5.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity. In June, we used 4.6 million kilowatts. To use as much as we did last July would mean a 1 million kilowatt hour increase. That could happen, especially if you have a mild June and a hot July, like we’re having this year.”
Goodson said the good thing is that customers are paying one cent per kilowatts hour less for electricity this year because of the amount of hydroelectric power the city has been able to purchase.
Water usage in Paris averaged 1.98 million gallons a day last week, well below the water production plant’s capacity of three million gallons daily.
“That’s not abnormal water usage for this time of year,” said Jason Cauthron, manager of the city’s water production plant. “Right now, the level of water in City Lake is pretty close to full.”
In the first two weeks of July, Paris has received 1.87 inches of rain. However, the bulk of that fell in the first week. In the last seven days, Paris has gotten .03 of an inch of rain. Paris normally gets 3.5 inches of rain in July. The long range forecast shows little chance of rain until the last week of this month.
With the hot weather comes concerns about heat-related illnesses. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet many people die from extreme heat each year.
ADH suggests taking measures to stay cool, remain hydrated, and keep informed. Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can’t compensate for it and properly cool you off. ADH suggests residents do the following:
Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. Limit outdoor activity, especially at midday when the sun is hottest. Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package. Pace your activity. Start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually. Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness. Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.