POLK COUNTY – Polk County will be feeling the heat this week – though some relief is on the way soon.
An excessive heat warning will be in effect from noon on Tuesday through 11 p.m. Friday, with temperatures predicted to reach as high as 105 on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
“We want people looking out for those who can’t protect themselves,” meteorologist Gerald Macke said. “That includes children and pets. We also want people to stay hydrated with non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages. If you don’t have AC, maybe it’s time to go somewhere that does, maybe go see a movie or something else. These temperatures can be potentially life threatening.”
Temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday in particular are expected to be the hottest days with poor night time recovery, he said.
“If you can limit physical activity during the afternoon, it’s a good idea, if you are able to,” Macke said. “If you have work to do, if you can do it at 7 a.m. as opposed to 2 p.m., that would be smart.”
In addition to highs nearing or breaking records, low temperatures are expected to remain warm, dropping only into the mid-60s or lower 70s.
Macke said knowing the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke is imperative to staying safe.
“When someone stops sweating, that’s an emergency situation,” Macke said. “As long as someone is sweating, the body is doing what it’s supposed to do.”
Temperatures will begin to drop during the weekend, he said.
“We’ll see some relief starting on Friday, but not a lot,” Macke said. “It may drop around five degrees. On Saturday, we’ll drop another five or 10, and on Sunday, we’ll be down around 85 degrees in general.”
Until then, Macke said people should be taking extra precautions to stay cool – and keeping an eye out for others.
“We want people to take care of others and just be a good neighbor,” Macke said.
A red flag warning is in effect Monday (today) through Tuesday evening for winds and low humidity.
There is also a fire watch in effect from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday evening for significantly unstable conditions conducive for rapid fire growth, with low humidity and gusty winds.
Cooling stations will be open in Dallas, Falls City, Independence and Monmouth to escape the heat.
The Dallas Public Library will be open until 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday with activities for kids. The check-out desk will close at the regular time.
Independence Public Library will be open until 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday with lots of activities for kids, internet access and reading areas for the family to stay cool and entertained.
Monmouth will operate cooling stations at the library and at the senior center Tuesday through Thursday during regular operating hours. Monmouth Public Library is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. The senior center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Falls City will operate a cooling station at Mountain Gospel Fellowship, 303 N. Main St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The American Red Cross advises to look out for neighbors and pets. People who are elderly, young or sick are more susceptible to heat-related illness and may need help.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, even if you do not feel thirsty. Eat small meals more often.
Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day (late afternoon/evening).
The Independence Riverview Market will be closed on Tuesday.
The Itemizer-Observer is waiting to hear if the Polk County Bounty Market will be open on Thursday. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.