The National Weather Service reports that the temperature has reached 100 degrees at the Rock Hill/York County airport. The high is expected to reach 104.
The onslaught of heat today through next week has emergency officials urging people to put safety first and look out for others who might face challenges.
The best rule is common sense: Stay out of the sun and heat if at all possible, York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said.
York County has not had a heat-related death this year, but the record-breaking temperatures create a risk for anyone who might have medical problems and other frailties, said Gast, who was a registered nurse before being elected coroner.
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Also, anyone with respiratory illness or other serious medical conditions, and the very young or very old, need to take special care, she said. Anyone with heat illness symptoms such as dizziness or cramping should seek immediate medical attention, she said.
People are also asked to keep a check on anyone they know to be susceptible to heat problems, such as elderly neighbors and family, said Capt. Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.
"This weekend's heat is very serious," Bollinger said. "If someone can check on a person they know, great. If they have concerns that health or safety of someone needs a wellness check, we can do that."
Anyone who thinks a heat-related incident requires emergency help should call 911, Bollinger said.
To help those in need during the record-breaking heat wave expected to last through next week, York Electric Cooperative has donated $400 to police to use to buy and distribute fans.
The York County Sheriff’s Office for the fourth consecutive year is running “Operation Cool Breeze,” according to a release from the sheriff’s office.
Deputies will be distributing fans to those in severe need during patrols, Sheriff Bruce Bryant said in a statement.
Even in the heat of the day, Paul Poston’s plans don’t change.
The 85-year-old owner of a pick-your-own produce farm on S.C. 5 will be outside this weekend, watching as people put money in a milk jug and pick green beans, squash, cantaloupe, and any other fruits and veggies he planted this season.
At his side will be his grandson – also named Paul Poston – who says with a defiant head shake that he’s not worried about the heat.
Then his grandfather says, “I don’t worry about the weather; we take it as it comes.”
Well, it’s about to come.
The National Weather Service predicts that temperatures today, Saturday, Sunday and possibly Monday will peak at triple digits – hitting as high as 104 degrees.
On Thursday, the weather service issued a weather advisory that warned “dangerous heat” would arrive today. A heat advisory will be in effect from noon to 7 p.m. today.
The means conditions will be dangerous for the elderly and people in poor health, as well as for outdoor pets and livestock.
Also on Thursday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) issued a Code Orange air quality action day for ground level ozone in effect from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.
An air quality action day means that the concentration of ground level ozone – a greenhouse gas that at high levels is a pollutant and a constituent of smog – in the region might approach or exceed unhealthy standards.
Temperatures will drop to 73 degrees tonight. Overnight lows for Saturday and Sunday also will be in the 70s.
The heat index – which combines temperature and humidity to determine how hot it feels – will average 105 degrees this weekend.
A strong high-pressure system is moving across the Southeast and will bring with it potential record-breaking temperatures for the area, said James Oh, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Temperatures in the Piedmont region haven’t hit triple digits since 2007, Oh said, when an August heat wave battered the area for five consecutive days.
On Independence Day 2007, the high was in the 90s. This July Fourth, the weather service predicts the temperature will peak at 99 degrees.
By Thursday afternoon, temperatures had started climbing into the high 90s.
Oh said people should plan to be outdoors only early in the morning or late in the evening.
“If going out during daylight hours, have plenty of water and appropriate outfit,” he said. “Try to minimize exposure to the sunlight.”
Thursday’s heat didn’t matter for either Poston, both of whom climbed into a golf cart and picked up trash around their field.
Though the older Poston isn’t concerned with the heat, he does worry for his crops.
“We need some rain bad,” Poston said. “The heat is burning the beans.”
If they’re burned too badly, Poston said, he’ll just have to plow again and plant something else.
Bynum Poe, owner of the A.B. Poe & Co. Farmers Exchange on Cherry Road, has more concern for his plants than sweltering heat.
When the weather’s cooler, workers at the farmers exchange usually water plants twice a day. When the heat cranks up, he has to water his geraniums three to four times a day.
“When we get to July and August, we expect it to be hot,” Poe said. “It’s OK, as long as it’s not blistering hot.”
Business at the farmers exchange generally slows down when it becomes hotter, Poe said.
Still, his plans for the weekend include finding a “shady spot” like everyone else.