Tallapoosa County went under a heat advisory Monday for the first time this summer, according to Emergency Management Agency director Jason Moran, and the broiling could get worse today, the National Weather Service in Birmingham said.
The August heat is also combining with the approach of the driest part of the year to create the beginnings of drought conditions in the county.
“Our local criteria is to issue a heat advisory once the heat index is 105 or more,” NWS meteorologist Gary Goggins said. “It’s going all the way through Tuesday evening. It should be a little hotter Tuesday.”
Goggins said the rising heat index is being caused by humidity and a high-pressure ridge building over Texas and moving toward the Deep South.
“The sinking air aloft leads to higher temperatures and there’s a lot of humidity,” Goggins said. “The dew points are going to be in the mid to upper 70s in the afternoon and the ability for the body to cool itself off is greatly diminished. The heat index in Alex City (Monday) is 105, 106 and as that ridge comes in it could go up (today).”
However, Goggins said a cold front will move into the state Wednesday, leading to rain and a cooldown.
“So instead of 96 or 97, it’ll be maybe 90 on Thursday,” he said. “There’s a 60 to 70% chance of rain in the Alex City area Wednesday but that will go down Thursday and Friday.”
Moran said the heat index doesn’t have to reach 105 to cause problems, especially for the elderly and the young.
“They don’t dissipate heat as well as others so they are more at risk,” he said.
Moran said those who work outside should wear light-colored clothing, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
“Watch out for your coworkers too,” he said.
Goggins said July’s rainfall in Alexander City was 1½ inches below normal and the area
is on the edge of drought conditions.
“It’s abnormally dry (in Tallapoosa County) but it’s worse to the northwest and in the Wiregrass,” he said.
July’s average rainfall in Alexander City is 5.31 inches but the city received 3.85 inches in July. By contrast, Shelby County got only 0.85 of an inch in July, Goggins said.
Alexander City’s August average is 1.86 inches and 0.81 of an inch has fallen so far this month.
If historical trends continue, Tallapoosa County could be parched during the next three months.
“August, September and October are the driest months,” Goggins said.