The math says last month wasn’t the hottest on record in the midstate — that distinction belongs to the drought-blighted July 1986 — but Mandy Rowland doesn’t care about the meteorology when it comes to the heat.
She cares about when it will stop beating down on her family.
“It’s just plain hot. That’s all there is to it,” the Jones County resident said Monday.
The daytime high temperatures averaged 94.2 degrees last month — two degrees higher than in July 2009 — and Macon temperatures topped 100 on three days, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.
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The average daily thermometer reading was 83.4 degrees, and the record for overall average temperature came in July 1986 at 86.5 degrees. Those figures represent temperatures during all hours of the day and night.
Now that August is here, don’t look for a quick cool down during the next week or so, National Weather Service meteorologist Kent McMullen said.
“As far as we look out, about 10 days, there’s no change. There’s no relief in sight over the next couple of weeks,” he said. “As everybody knows, August is typically one of the warmest months of the year. So, the bottom line is that there will be hot weather for a while longer.”
That fact is bearable with a controlled climate. It can become deadly without an air-conditioning unit. Rowland, 31, along with her husband, Dean, her daughter MacKenzie, and nephews Kody and Austin sweltered for most of last week when their air conditioning blinked out.
A loaned window unit kept a couple of rooms cool, but it couldn’t provide much relief from the baking weather, with many days punching through 100 on the heat index.
Times are rough for Rowland, who has been in a wheelchair for the past 15 years after a car accident robbed her of the ability to walk.
The air-conditioning problem was another tribulation thrown in her lap, she said.
Then nonprofit charity Rebuilding Macon stepped in and worked on their central air-conditioning unit. “It’s made our life a lot better,” Rowland said. “I don’t know if we could take it any longer.”
The heat has been hard on Rowland and many other Middle Georgia residents over the past two months, said Deborah Rollins, executive director of Rebuilding Macon.
“We are getting more and more calls for help, but the heat has caused a slowdown for our volunteers. We are reaching out to the people as best we can,” Rollins said.
The charity has fielded a small army over the past few weeks, with 1,400 teenage volunteers doing roofing and repair work.
“We go through tons of pallets full of water and Gatorade,” she said.
The heat limits the time workers can be in the sun “with our people generally getting out and working on roofs about 6:30 a.m. to noon,” Rollins said. “They cannot go much longer than that and be safe.”
The heat has beat down Rowland’s fun-loving outdoors nature, too, she said.
“Once I could stand it outside, I loved the sun, and I wanted to be in the sunshine all day long,” Rowland said. “Now, this kind of heat just makes me want to stay inside.”