As storms threaten plans across the nation's midsection for the unofficial start to summer this weekend, Sumter and the rest of the South may see record-breaking heat during the outdoor Iris Festival.
An area of high pressure will continue to …
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An area of high pressure will continue to spur a surge of heat in the Southeast through the end of the weekend and into Memorial Day, resulting in potentially dangerous dry, sunny weather during the holiday, according to AccuWeather.
The National Weather Service is forecasting today and Saturday to be 96 and 95 degrees, respectively, with Sunday and Memorial Day on Monday reaching a high of 99. Lows are only expected to get down to the low 70s at night.
As of Wednesday evening, the NWS in Columbia said "confidence is increasing for well-above normal temperatures that may break existing records over the weekend into next week. Strong high pressure aloft will persist. If you, pets and any in your family are sensitive to heat-related illnesses, it's time to prepare."
The agency says the record high temperature for Columbia on Saturday is 101 and on Sunday is 100.
AccuWeather meteorologist Renee Duff wrote temperatures nearing the three-digit mark will challenge records that in many places across the Southeast date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s.
"In what has been a warmer-than-normal May to date across the Southeast, temperatures will take a notable turn upwards through the end of the week and into Memorial Day weekend," AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido said.
Columbia-based NWS meteorologist Rachel Cobb wrote people in this heat should protect themselves from heat-related illness by wearing appropriate clothing, staying hydrated and getting out of the sun periodically. Sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats will help shield skin from the sun.
AccuWeather says AAA expects nearly 43 million Americans to travel by car, train and airplane this weekend, a 3.6% increase from last year and the second-highest travel volume since 2000 when record-keeping began for that statistic.
While it may be hot on deck, water in area lakes and other bodies of water across the tri-county region are likely still cold. The NWS says roughly 20% of those who fall in cold water die in the first minute of immersion because of cold water shock.
Survival time is greatly diminished for someone immersed in water below 70 degrees. Warm air temperatures can create a false sense of security for boaters, the NWS says, with cold water shock causing immediate loss of breathing control.
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