Friday’s high temperature of 98 degrees gave Baton Rouge three straight days of record-setting highs, and Saturday’s forecast of 99 degrees suggests that streak will continue.
The National Weather Service Forecast Center said Friday’s high tied the record set in 1911. Wednesday and Thursday’s highs set records of 100 and 103 degrees respectively, according to the NWS. The record of 96 for June 4 was set in 1977.
Improbably, only one month ago Saturday, Baton Rouge hit a record low of 43 degrees on May 4. The high that day was 75 degrees.
High temperatures will likely stay in the upper 90s until Wednesday, state climatologist Barry Keim said.
“Upper 90s is not normal for the summer, actually,” Keim said. “It’s normal to get a few days like this, but this is well above the averages for the summer months.”
Sunday could reach 97 degrees, which would tie the record for that date, according to the weather service.
Monday and Tuesday’s forecasts promise only mild relief with highs dipping to 95 or 96, while next Wednesday may cool to 93, according to the weather service. Thursday and Friday are both projected for 92 degrees.
But it is Louisiana. All these predictions could change well before those dates arrive, Keim said.
“The forecasted numbers will change every few hours, but should stay in the same area,” he said.
Keim cited several reasons for the record heat. The land is dry because of the ongoing drought, which means there’s no evaporation or transpiration to put moisture back into the atmosphere, Keim said.
That means there are fewer clouds to produce rain or absorb the sun’s energy, he explained.
“It’s a whole bunch of things that are kind of compounding on each other,” Keim said.
Emergency Medical Services spokesman Mark Olson said EMS dealt with eight heat-related emergencies from Wednesday through 5 p.m. Friday — compared to none from June 1 to June 7 of 2010.
“It is picking up a little bit earlier than normal because we have higher heat,” he said.
Olson said EMS responded to 30 heat-related emergencies in May, which is not abnormal for a single month.
Olson said most of the emergencies came at Bayou Country Superfest at LSU’s Tiger Stadium during the Memorial Day weekend.
Olson said residents should drink plenty of fluids during the heat wave to avoid exhaustion or cramps.
“The most important thing is to schedule your timeframe in the cooler parts of the day,” Olson said, referring to early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
Mayor-President Kip Holden has advised local residents to use the “buddy system” to check on neighbors’ health, especially the elderly.
The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging has given out 40 fans to elderly in the past week to help them deal with the heat, said Patricia Dyson, executive assistant director.
“That’s not normal, not for this time of the year,” she said.
Wayne Valentine, general manager of Calvin’s Maintenance, said the company has not seen an abnormal spike in air conditioning maintenance this week, but has noticed something odd with functional units.
“Even units that are working properly are having trouble keeping up,” Valentine said. “They just can’t keep up.”