heat wave

Blackshear employees Jason Douglas,  Rickie Melton and Sammy Herrin (cutting pipe) get an early start laying pipe to avoid the  blistering heat.

It’s a furnace out there.

Record temperatures of 97-101 degrees and humidity between 25-33 in recent days has resulted in an elevated wildfire risk for the area.

Locals are advised not to burn due to the heat conditions, says Emergency Management Director Santo Niño. Those who do burn are required to obtain a burn permit with Georgia Forestry by calling 1-800-428-7337.

“The Georgia heat is intense and we try to predict to prevent hazards for the future,” Niño says.

The unusually hot and dry weather for May and early June is also causing an increased number of heat-related illnesses.

“We are seeing around 20 patients a day who have been out in the heat, working in the heat or who just don’t have the access to air conditioning,” says Victoria Wootten, emergency department director at Memorial Satilla Health.

“We are here and ready to help in these cases where the heat is inducing emergent situations,” Wootten adds.

Health officials advise residents to stay hydrated and indoors when possible, check on the elderly and never leave children or pets

inside a vehicle.

The record-breaking temps and unseasonably dry weather of May are in line with conditions Pierce Countians don’t anticipate until July or August  — the true dog days of summer. Summer doesn’t officially start until Friday, June 21.

According to a recent Washington Post report, Savannah and the surrounding region has already hit 100 degree temperatures more times this year than Phoenix, Ariz., and a recent 102 degree high in Gainesville, Florida was higher than any temperature ever recorded in May.

Things aren’t likely to cool off anytime soon.

The National Weather Service long-range summer forecast (through August) predicts a 40 percent chance of above normal temperatures for most of Georgia.