Just in time for the start of high school and college football and Labor Day weekend, a nasty spell of hot weather is settling in on North Texas.High temperatures reached 102 Thursday afternoon and are expected to soar to 105 on Friday and 104 on Saturday. Forecasts call for it to cool down slightly for Sunday and Monday, with highs of 101 and 100.High school football coaches, trainers and band directors are well aware of the dangers that come with the triple-digit heat and have been preparing their students accordingly. Games began Thursday and are also scheduled for Friday and Saturday throughout the region.At Keller Central, which plays Flower Mound at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the KISD Athletic Complex, head football Coach Bart Helsley said his staff has been promoting extra hydration in recent days.“We have tried to increase the tempo of practice to add to conditioning, we have tried to add a little to our post-practice conditioning, and we had our scrimmage at 10 a.m. last week,” Helsley said.Keller’s stadium has artificial turf, which adds heat, and when the sun reflects off of the aluminum seats, the venue takes on the characteristics of an oven.“This time of year there really isn’t a great time to play, temperature-wise,” Helsley said. “It will be a great challenge.”Most marching bands will be going light and casual instead of traditional uniforms in their effort to fend off heat-related illnesses.Arlington Sam Houston’s band will wear shorts and T-shirts during Friday’s home game against Fort Worth Wyatt.Though the band won’t perform until about 8:30 p.m., band director Jeff Barge said the Texans — and other bands in the Arlington school district — typically wear breathable athletic shirts and light shorts the first two weeks of the season.Barge said sports bottles and about five ten-gallon coolers filled with ice water will also be on hand.“We have all gone through times where someone is just not doing well and we’ve removed them from rehearsal and taken them to an air-conditioned place to be monitored,” Barge said.‘It’s hotter than normal’With Thursday’s triple-digit reading, it marks the 22nd day this year that North Texas has reached 100 degrees. The average number of 100-degree days at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is 18. Last year, DFW Airport recorded 34 100-degree days, but 2011 set the all-time record with 71 days reaching 100 or higher.While 100-degree temperatures are common in August, Dennis Cavanaugh, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said “this is one of those periods where it’s hotter than normal.”“In general, it’s an upper-level high pressure system that causes sinking air throughout the atmosphere,” Cavanaugh said. “Combine the hot August sun with the sinking air and things warm up pretty quickly.”While the daytime highs will make it tough on people attending football games and events such as the Bedford Blues and BBQ Festival, it’s tough to cool off at night as well.Cavanaugh said that for the next few days, it will stay in the 90s through midnight. There’s a slight chance for a cooling trend early next week, he said.‘It’s always hot every year’As many as 30,000 folks could be drawn to the Bedford music festival — featuring such masters as Buddy Guy and Jimmie Vaughan — that begins Friday night.“It’s always hot every year,” said Rebecca Asher, a city spokeswoman. “We’re completely prepared for this event.”Besides a VIP tent — available to those who pony up more than the $5 general admission — there will be two free tents where folks can cool off with fans and misters.Also, a full EMT crew will be standing by to handle emergencies, Asher said. Though guests cannot bring in coolers or picnic baskets, they’re allowed to carry in their own water and food in small bags. Food, water and other beverages will be sold by vendors. Staff writers Monica Nagy and Terry Evans contributed to this report.
Lee Williams, 817-390-7840 Twitter: @leewatson