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Heat wave to continue, for now

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The heat is on and it's here to stay, for a little while at least.

According to meteorologists from the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, Fla., the heat wave that has been broiling the East Coast for the past few weeks has no intention of turning down the thermostat any time soon.

"The bad news is that nothing is changing," said Tim Barry, a meteorologist with the NWS.

The meteorologist said unusually high humidity from a tropical air mass sitting over the region has helped push the heat index above 100 degrees for several weeks.

Barry said Albanians started feeling the heat on July 19 when temperatures began soaring into the mid-90s and eventually topped off to more than a 100 degrees in the latter half of the month.

And that's unusual for this time of the year.

"Your normal temperatures are about 91," said Barry. "Sure, it can get up to 100 degrees during the summer, but not for this length of time. It's above normal."

There is a ray of hope -- or rather a dark storm cloud -- on the horizon that could possibly provide some relief from the heat, the meteorologist said Thursday.

"A storm front will be sliding through Alabama and middle Georgia close to Albany this weekend," said Barry. "While it might not be near enough to produce rain, it may be enough to disrupt the pressure and provide some relief."

While you might still be able to fry an egg on top of the Ray Charles statue at Turtle Grove Park, meteorologists predict that Dougherty County residents should start feeling a slight change in the weather by Sunday.

"Just bear with it for a couple of days; the front might be able to cool us down some," said Barry.

Tommy McGuire said he doesn't mind the heat and humidity. McGuire, who works at a Po Boy's produce stand stationed on the corner of Philema Road past the Jefferson Street Bridge, said he has grown used to the temperatures during his days at the stand.

"The more you do it," said the produce dealer, "the more you get used to it."

McGuire, who sold a variety of fruits and vegetables to a steady stream of customers Thursday, said his covered stand, box fan and shades help keep him cool during the day.

"It's hot out here, but I deal with it," he said. "I make sure my cooler is filled with ice, and I always drink plenty of water."

McGuire said dealing with the heat is worth it because of the customers who drop by the stand on a regular basis.

"Even with the heat, business has been steady," he said as he handed over a fresh onion and beans to a customer.

Carolyn Maschke, a risk communications/public information officer with the Georgia Health District 8 Unit 2, said habits like McGuire's are essential for keeping cool during heat waves.

"It's important to stay hydrated, wear light-weight clothing and avoid being outside during the hottest portions of the day," said Maschke.

The current heat wave has been linked to the buckling of roadway on State Route118 between Dawson and Bronwood, the death of a police dog in Fayette County and eight high school students at an Atlanta band camp being hospitalized for heat exhaustion as the index reached 105 degrees Thursday.