Macon gears up for triple-digit temperatures

Andre Collins Sr. spends the majority of his workday on black asphalt, battling the heat.

He wipes down the windows, dashboards and consoles of cars that have just been through the wash at Fountain Car Wash on Hardeman Avenue in Macon.

Over the next few days as June gives way to the first days of July, Collins’ job will get a lot hotter: Temperatures in Macon are set to rocket into triple digits this weekend.

The National Weather Service estimates Macon’s high Friday will be 100 degrees with highs of 101 both Saturday and Sunday.

So far this year, Macon has not yet hit 100 degrees, although Thursday’s high temperature was 98 degrees.

Collins said he’s not fazed by the heat wave.

“As a matter of fact, the heat is our friend (in his business) because when it rains we get less hours” to work, he said.

Collins previously worked for a garbage collection company, so he’s no stranger to hot weather. He wears a fisherman’s hat to keep the sun off his head and neck, and he said he’s always singing to distract himself from the rising mercury.

“If I started thinking about it, I would fall out,” he said.

Collins said he and his co-workers carry spray bottles and get into water fights from time to time to stay cool.

Brian Eidson, the car wash manager, said he takes heat safety seriously and makes sure his employees stay hydrated.

“Once you get to a certain point, the difference between 98 and 104 isn’t that big,” he said.

National Weather Service forecaster Robert Garcia said the triple-digit temperatures could continue through Monday but should dip back slightly to about 98 by Tuesday.

Garcia said the same high-pressure front that cleared Tropical Storm Debby from Florida has traveled up to Georgia and is blocking cool winds and precipitation from the midstate.

Even with a relatively cool spring, Macon has been unseasonably warm this year, with the National Weather Service estimating that temperatures only fell below freezing 16 days so far in 2012.

This June has been a record-breaking month nationwide. So far in 2012, 24 all-time heat records have been broken or tied in June.

Macon’s hottest day of 2011 was in June, when temperatures rose to 103 degrees. They rose again to 102 in August 2011 and were at or above 90 degrees every day that month.

University of Washington professor Howard Frumkin said Thursday that children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to dangerously high heat levels.

While most people can manage the scorching temperatures, Frumkin said it can be deadly.

“When heat becomes too pervasive and too persistent, we do expect increased mortality,” he said.

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