Summer temperatures arrive early

Kevin Wilson

The days of summer aren’t technically here yet; the first official day of the season is next Tuesday.

But the temperatures of summer are here early, and triple-digits will be the norm for the next few days.

The predicted highs are 100 Tuesday, 95 Wednesday, 103 Thursday, 101 Friday and Saturday, 100 Sunday and 99 Monday and Tuesday before the temperature drops down to a high of 94 degrees on June 22, according to weather.com.

The average high temperature for those days, according to weather.com historical data, is 89 or 90 degrees each day.

Maria Torres, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albuquerque, said the trend is due to a combination of high atmospheric pressure and low water. Despite recent rainfall, Clovis has received about an inch of water all year — about one-fourth its average amount through five months.

“The main reason is we have this high pressure ridge over us, so that keeps the temperatures high,” Torres said. “There’s also the fact that we are so dry, and humidity is so low. It’s in the single digits across that area.”

Sharon Harris, a registered dietitian who has operated in Clovis for 12 years, said people can take simple diet precautions to avoid risks of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“There’s no real food to avoid related to temperature,” Harris said. “The big thing is hydration. You would want to drink plenty of fluids, and if you have any kind of weight control issues, like if you’re overweight or had diabetes, you’d want to avoid beverages that had carbohydrates.

“The best winner for everybody is always water.”

Harris said without considering weight control issues, there’s nothing wrong with soda related to caffeine intake because most have less caffeine than coffee. But those types of drinks should be enjoyed in moderation regardless of the temperature.

Regarding sports drinks, Harris said there’s probably no need for them unless the person is in athletic training or competition.

The heat does underscore a local initiative as well. United Way of Eastern New Mexico has an ongoing fan drive.

“They’re referred by other agencies,” UWENM Director Erinn Burch said. “Let’s say a family is working with La Casa. They’re visiting with their doctor and they let them know they don’t have air conditioning. The doctor could call us up and say, ‘We’ve got a family that really needs a fan.’

“I would say the need is probably out there to the 200-250 people level, but we only deal with 15 to 20 people. We don’t get swamped with fans, so we let our agencies know we’ve only got a few. We try not to have a waiting list.”

The organization accepts new fans, or donations specifically to buy fans, at its office at the Matt 25 Hope Center. The concern with older fans, Burch said, is that people in need are often living in residences that already have structural issues — like one person whose landlord had nailed the windows shut for other reasons.

“We don’t want to add to people’s issues by giving them something that may be faulty,” Burch said. “But if somebody has a gently used window unit and they’d be willing to donate it, we’d gladly take it and one of our maintenance guys can give it a look-over.”