Record-breaking heat blasts region

Published 10:39 am Saturday, June 30, 2012


FRANKLIN—Jimmy Phipps is used to working in the heat just as he did on Friday, when Western Tidewater experienced a record-breaking 102 degrees. With the humidity, it felt more like 115.

“Keep hydrated with water or Gatorade and try to work in the shade when you can,” was the advice from Phipps, a 47-year-old Franklin man, who works at Drake Tire Co. in the downtown.

Friday’s temperatures broke a 53-year-old record for June 29. The old record set in 1959 was 99.

The area can expect more record-breaking heat for Saturday, when the high calls for 104 degrees with a head index of 115. The record-high for June 30 is 100, set in 1959, according to the Weather Channel.

Sunday calls for 100 degrees, which would beat the record-high of 99 set in 1954.

The National Weather Service in Wakefield is calling for highs in the mid-90s for next week and 90 by Friday.

NWS Meteorologist James Foster blames the heat wave on high pressure building in the upper level of the atmosphere.

Western Tidewater wasn’t alone. According to a published report, 41 all-time heat records were broken or tied this June and 233 records have fallen in the last year. Temperatures on Friday hit 108 in Smyrna, Tenn., and 107 in Needles, Calif.

Newsoms resident Angela Boone had a hard time keeping cool while selling produce at the Franklin Farmers’ Market on South Street.

“Keep hydrated, take a break to cool off every hour or so, and try to stay in the shade” was the 39-year-old’s advice. “We brought a nice fan out here to help with the heat.”

At Ace Hardware on Armory Drive in Franklin, the thermometer read 101 degrees at 3 p.m. Friday.

“It’s really hot outside,” said employee Demetrice Urquhart. “We have a lot of customers come in who work outdoors and they all mention the heat. But we all have a job to do so we have to live with it.”

Glenn Rawlings, owner of Rawlings Heating and Cooling in Courtland, said the economy has been tough on business, but the warmer temperatures help.

“The heat does help our business,” Rawlings said. “When it gets hot like this, people find out their air conditioning stopped working, or isn’t working as good as it should, and they have to call us out to repair or replace it for them.”

Brandon Banfield, a manager at Walmart in Franklin, says the hot weather is good for business.

“Hot weather like this causes a lot more people to come and shop,” Banfield said.

“Hot weather items always sell. Water, ice and Gatorade. We have also seen quite a few people buying pools recently.”