Temperatures soared into triple digits on June 30 and July 1, setting and tying a new heat record at 106 degrees.
Meteorologists say both days were the hottest days ever in the state of Georgia, at least since they started keeping records in 1878. The new mark breaks the previous record of 105, set in July 1980.
Smart DeKalb residents also drank plenty of water.
Jean Hendricks of Decatur said she had never seen the temperature this high before.
“It was hotter here than in South Georgia,” said Hendricks, who is originally from Albany.
Her daughter, Kim Weston, was raised in California and said she never experienced heat like that before.
“I’ve been staying inside,” Weston said.
Hendricks was at the Browns Mill Aquatic Center with her grandchildren on July 2 when the mercury hit a high of 99 degrees. The National Weather Service says the heat wave will continue into the 90s through July 9.
A heat wave has gripped the nation with temperatures hitting 100 in many cities.
Hendricks said she and the kids have been doing everything they can to stay cool.
“During the day the kids are playing in the sprinklers, sucking on Popsicles, playing with water guns, and drinking lots and lots of water,” she said. “We’ve also been wearing light clothing.”
Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. The Weather Service says that on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is cautioning residents to avoid strenuous outdoor activities and prolonged exposure to the sun.
“We are sounding the alarm now and we’re sounding it loudly,” said Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, the state’s Public Health commissioner.
Poor air quality makes the outdoor environment even more hazardous, especially for small children and the elderly, as well as those who work outdoors or those suffering from certain medical conditions.
On July 1, metro Atlanta’s air quality had dropped back to Code Red after being so poor on June 30 that it shot up to Code Purple, which is considered unhealthy levels.
DPH said residents must follow safety guidelines throughout periods of extreme heat. The guidelines include:
- Stay indoors, in air-conditioned buildings and avoid direct sunlight.
- Never leave a child or person in a parked vehicle – not even for a moment.
- Limit outdoor activity when the sun is most dangerous from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Bathe in cool water to reduce body temperature.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol or liquids containing caffeine or sugar.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.
For more information, visit www.health.state.ga.us or call 770-270-0413 or 404-294-3700.