MOULTRIE, Ga. — Forecasters say the high temperatures will climb heading through the weekend, but Colquitt County High School officials don’t expect them to interfere with Saturday’s graduation ceremony.
The ceremony at Mack Tharpe Stadium will begin promptly at 8 a.m. and is expected to be finished about 10:30 a.m., CCHS Principal Jamie Dixon said.
“While it's going to be hot, hopefully the temps will not be high enough by 10:30 to cause us any problems,” Dixon said. “However, we will certainly encourage our students and graduation participants to hydrate well before the event. As you know, hydration usually occurs the day before, so we will begin to blast this information via social media outlets (Tuesday).”
The National Weather Service in Tallahassee is predicting highs of 92 today and Thursday, 95 Friday, 97 Saturday and 98 Sunday and Monday. Those temperatures will put heat indexes well above 100 degrees. The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature, according to the NWS website.
Other weather forecasters expect the actual high temperature to be over 100 — with heat indexes even higher. A day’s highest temperature usually occurs in early- to mid-afternoon, which is why the graduation ceremony is planned for the early part of the day.
A school official said EMS will be on scene for any emergency that may arise. A school club will also be selling bottled water to help guests stay hydrated.
If you can’t make it to the ceremony, CNS will stream it live at https://mycns.tv/cities/moultrie. Tune in at 8 a.m. and push the Play button to start.
Meanwhile, the Southwest Health District offered several tips to help residents stay safe and healthy in the heat — whether they’re at graduation or not.
• Drink more fluids. Don’t wait until you are thirsty. Don’t wait until you are active.
• Avoid liquids that contain alcohol or a lot of sugar, since they cause you to lose more body fluid. Avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause cramps.
• Stay indoors in an air-conditioned place if possible. If your home isn’t air conditioned, spend time at a library, mall or other air-conditioned facility. During heat waves, check with the Emergency Management Agency to see if heat-relief shelters are available.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
If you must be out in the heat:
• Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
• Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.
• Try to rest often in shady areas.
• Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. The most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels.
Remember that heat stroke, in which the body is no longer able to cool itself, is a medical emergency. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
• High temperature (above 103 degrees F., orally).
• Red, hot and dry skin with no sweating.
• Rapid, strong pulse.
• Throbbing headache.
If these symptoms occur, call 9-1-1 immediately. Meanwhile, get the victim out of the sun and cool the victim with whatever means are available. Heat stroke is a life-and-death emergency.
Although anyone can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. They include infants and young children; people 65 and older; people who have a mental illness and those who are physically ill -- especially those with heart disease or high blood pressure.