WEATHER

Killeen might - or might not - have set a record this week.

Monday’s 111 degrees set a record high for the last 40 years, according to the National Weather Service database.

Although official temperatures recorded at Killeen-Fort Hood airport only go as far back as 1978, the previous all-time record for Killeen was a high of 108 set Aug. 28, 2011.

“Which is ironic because Killeen tied that temperatures on July 22, this year,” said Jason Godwin, a meteorologist with the NWS in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Another weather group, however, intellicast.com, reports the all-time high in Killeen was set in September 2000 at 113 degrees.

Intellicast is “the most technically advanced site-specific weather forecasting system in the world today, the result of a multi-million dollar research project” that delivers site-specific forecasts for 60,000 sites in the U.S. and around the globe, and is run by The Weather Company.

Unfortunately, temperatures aren’t dropping much anytime this week.

“I’m afraid it’s triple digits through Sunday,” Godwin said.

There is hope for cooler days next Monday as temperatures are expected to drop back down into the mid-to low 90s with a 50 percent chance of rain.

Heat-related illnesses

Three teens were taken to the hospital for heat-related illnesses at band practice at Salado High School on Monday.

Salado Independent School District Superintendent Michael Novotny said that two girls were transported to the hospital from practice and one was taken to the hospital later by a parent. All three were given fluids, and Novotny said Tuesday that they had recovered well.

Novotny said that normally, band practice involves two hours of outside marching practice, but on this occasion head band director Charla Kelley restricted that to 30 minutes.

“The first day they only had about 30 minutes outside,” Novotny said. “They also gave water breaks every 5 to 10 minutes, and gave the kids an option that any time they needed to get under the tent in the shade they had the option to do so.”

Novotny said that for the remainder of the heat wave, band practice will have even more limited time outside and on some days the band directors may skip outside practice altogether.

Novotny noted that he, Kelley, and the high school principal all have children of their own participating in marching band this week.

“Our head band director’s been doing this for many years, and she really cares for all of the kids as her own,” he said. “But we are taking even more precautions now, so they may not go out at all today.”

With Killeen Independent School District activities starting back up this coming Monday, Harker Heights head athletic trainer Andy Wilson advises that in order for children to prevent heat illnesses, heat injuries or any heat-related problems they must stay hydrated.

This includes dropping soda and instead drinking water, Gatorades and powerades.

“I challenge my athletes,” Wilson added. “I tell them every day, when you finish a gallon of milk, rinse it out and fill it up with water.”

While drinking a gallon of water all at once is not advised, the purpose is to have young people active in the heat realize that they should be drinking at least a gallon of water throughout the day.

“If they are thirsty, then they’re already too late,” Wilson said. “They need to already be drinking prior to the actual urge for thirst.

The long-time athletic trainer also suggested that kids find shade as best as they can, drink properly throughout the day, eat properly throughout the day.

If someone is not sweating, watch them closely as Wilson said, “Hot, dry skin is a sign of heat stroke, get them attention immediately.

“The kid not sweating is the one I worry about most.”

Wilson also advised that parents check on their children when they return from practice or games in the sweltering summer heat for signs of heat related illnesses and dehydration.

Trying to keep cool

Area air-conditioning contractors are also seeing an increase in business as the temperatures continue to rise.

“It’s actually one of the busiest summers in several years,” said Jim Scaff, owner of Killeen Heating and Air.

It is suggested that tenants and home owners run their air conditioning systems in the mid-70s to low 80s, in order to conserve energy. Systems are not designed for such heat.

“They’re just trying to keep up,”

Temple Heat & Air dispatcher Erin Campbell had a few tips for homeowners to keep their systems in prime condition.

“May sure the outdoor unit is free from grass and leaves or anything around it restricting the air flow,” he said. “Maybe turn up the thermostat a degree or two to make the unit not run quite as hard.”

Water issues

The recent stretch of triple digit temperatures with no recent rain has led to water line breaks throughout the City of Killeen, according to a press release on Tuesday.

Water line breaks occur when the ground becomes dry and begins to constrict, placing added stress on buried water lines.

All the stress causes movement in the earth supporting pipes and more susceptible to breaks.

Each break varies in location, line size and severity, and can occur during daylight or at night. Repairs can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

With the forecast showing temperatures remaining in the high 90s to low triple digits, pipe breakages are expected to continue. Citizens can assist the city by reported suspected breaks, which are typically characterized by large amounts of water running down streets or water spraying into the air.

Reports can be made 24 hours a day by calling 254-501-6500.

The six water breaks reported on Tuesday had all been repaired as of Wednesday morning.

Water usage

The Brazos River Authority informed customers who access water from Lake Belton that a Stage 1 Drought Watch has been declared.

The drought watch is the result of the drier than normal conditions in this area of the Brazos River basin and is a response to drought trigger levels established by the BRA’s Drought Contingency Plan.

The goal of Stage 1 Drought Watch is a voluntary reduction of 5 percent of the water use that would have occurred in the absence of any drought contingency measure and to raise awareness of the developing drought situation, according to a press release.

Those affected by the Stage 1 Drought Watch included the 439 Water Supply Corporation, Bell County Water Control and Improvement District, Blue Bonnet Water Supply Corporation, Coryell City Water Supply District, Fort Gates Water Supply Corporation, the cities of Gatesville and Temple, and the Grove Water Supply Corporation.

FME News Service contributed to this report.

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

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