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  • Writer's pictureTopsail Times

Heatwave 2023

Phoenix Arizona has been suffering for over 30 days with 110-degree temperatures during the entire month of July and going on into August. On average the coolest part of the day has been a chilly 88 degrees at 6am. The peak temperature of 119 degrees was achieved on July 19th.

El Paso, Texas has had 44 days straight of 100 degrees or hotter.

Miami, Florida has had 46 days of 100 degrees or hotter.

Cities in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas have all experienced 110- degree temperatures.

In July of this year, a town in Russia recorded 104-degree temperature while a town in China recorded 126 degrees.

The heat wave has impacted three continents and left fires raging in occupied areas around the world.

When many of the large cacti in Arizona began to faint or melt from the heat, scientists began to worry. A plant believed to be accustomed to high temperatures, the Saguaro Cacti are represented in pottery and artwork depicting life in the hot desert regions of the Southwest United States. When the rain they depended on failed to arrive and the heat reached record highs, the plants had no choice but to give in to the environmental stresses. The cacti are known to grow up to 40 feet in height and to live up to 175 years.

It is not just the land that takes a hit by such excessive heat. Water temperatures off the Florida coast were detected at over 100 degrees five feet below the surface of the water. The natural corals that live in those waters prefer water temperatures at 89 degrees or below. Many of the native corals have begun a bleaching process, which can be fatal to coral if their environment doesn’t become more favorable.

25% of the world’s marine life depends on healthy coral reefs.

In North Carolina, 3 people died during the month of July from a Vibriosis infection. The infection was most likely from going into warm brackish or salt water with a cut that was unprotected (including tattoos, piercings and surgical cuts). This year alone there have been eight confirmed cases with three fatalities. The Vibrio bacteria is present in warmer waters and can also be found in shellfish. Under cooked or uncooked shellfish should be avoided.

How will this heat wave impact you directly?

1. Higher electric bills. Cooling your home or business may result in a much higher power bill. The first thing a power company will do is suggest that you have your Air Conditioner inspected to make sure it is working properly. A bad unit can run up hundreds of dollars in wasted electricity. Add fans for air movement and keep all window coverings closed. Limit cooking indoors.

2. Lack of rain and higher amounts of water usage may result in water restrictions.

3. Food prices will increase as farmers are losing crops and livestock to heat and lack of rain.

4. Stay hydrated and always keep water with you, especially when exercising or traveling.

5. Lack of Shade. Unfortunately, with large amounts of development comes the clearing of large tracts of land. This has an immediate effect on buildings/structures that are left exposed and unable to get relief from shade. Add sunshades to outdoor areas where you, your pets and your plants reside. Put a windshield shade up when parking.

6. Gardens and lawns may require water. This should be done during the night and not during daylight hours.

7. Pets. Outdoor pets will not only require shade but also areas where they can get a breeze or have air movement. A container alone that offers shelter may in fact work as a heat chamber. Add ice cubes to water and keep an eye on them for signs of heat exhaustion.

8. Poor outdoor air quality. Due to the fires continuing in Canada and the Southwest, it is possible that poor air quality may be an issue. Keep an eye on local reports before exercising or heading outdoors for an activity.

9. Hats, sun blocking clothing and skin protection are vital during excessive heat. Wear cotton.

10. Lawn and yard work may be deadly. Overdoing your outdoor chores without proper clothing or lots of cold drinks may be too much for your body. Pace yourself and take plenty of breaks. Do as much of the work in the first part of the day or early evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.

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