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Here comes the sun and a string of 100+ days

Break out the sun block, water bottles and floppy hats -- triple-digit temperatures are in the forecast well into next week.

It's so hot and dry that, although Friday edged toward 98 degrees, the heat index was expected to be higher, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

The culprit is a high-pressure ridge aloft over North Texas that will prevent thunderstorms from developing, said Tara Dudzik, a meteorologist at the weather service's office in Fort Worth.

"It doesn't look like much relief in the near future," she said. "That's not uncommon at all this time of year."

Saturday is expected to bust the century mark and stop at 102 degrees. The same forecast holds for Sunday, and it's expected to be only 1 degree cooler on Monday.

RECORDS TO BE BROKEN?

Let's face it, July has always been hot in the Metroplex, so it will have to get really hot for any records to be broken in the next few days.

For example, the record high temperature for Saturday's date, July 26, is 106 in 1980, according to the weather service.

Likewise, the top scorcher for Sunday's date is 106 in 1944; Monday's record high is 105 in 1995.

By the way, 1980 is the hottest summer on record, with 69 days above 100 degrees, according to the weather service A lot of people still talk about that summer.

But residents only have to look back 10 years to recall the second hottest summer; 1998 saw 56 days of 100-degree-plus weather, the weather service said.

The next hottest summers include: 1954, 52 days above 100; 1956, 48 days; and 2000, 46 days.

By comparison, 2008 so far has had 14 days above 100 degrees.

For more information, go to http://www.srh.noaa.gov/fwd/CLIMO/dfw/normals/dfw07nrm.html

BUT IT FEELS HOTTER!

Blame the "heat index" for that.

This is an index that looks at air temperature along with relative humidity. The result an temperature that relates how hot it actually feels to a person.

The index is a good indicator that the heat has reached an unhealthy level and raised the possibility for hazards like sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke

To learn more about the heat index, go to http://www.srh.noaa.gov/fwd/heatindex/heat2.html.

BE COOL (AND SAFE)

The weather service urges residents to heed its heat safety rules, which are rooted in common sense: avoid the heat by staying in air conditioned spaces; wear light clothing; stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids; eat small protein-rich meals.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include: heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale and clammy skin; weak pulse; fainting, and vomiting.

If that happens, lie down in a cool place, loosen clothing and apply cool, wet cloths. Sip water, unless there is nausea. If vomiting occurs, get medical help.

Heat stroke is more severe and can be fatal.

Signs include: body temperature 106 degrees or above; hot, dry skin; rapid pulse; possible unconsciousness and the absence of perspiration. Get the person to the hospital immediately. Apply wet sponges or clothes, but don't give the person fluids.

For more information, go to http://www.srh.weather.gov/fwd/heatindex/heat3.html.

HOW'S THE WATER SUPPLY?

By all means, visit your favorite lake to beat the heat.

Water levels at six major reservoirs in Tarrant County are not as low as they were a couple years ago during a severe drought.

Heavy rains last year restored lake levels but the recent dry conditions have not drastically reduced them.

For example, Lake Bridgeport on Friday was at 833.34 feet, which is 2.66 feet below full conservation level. Lake Benbrook was at 545.65, which was 4.35 feet below the conservation level.

"Right now we're down a little bit but we are holding pretty steady," said Kari Schmidt, spokeswoman for the Tarrant Regional Water District. "It could be far worse and we're not nearly as bad as 2005."

To monitor daily lake levels at the six lakes, go to http://www.trwd.com/prod/index.asp.


FORECAST HIGHS

Today: 100

Saturday: 101

Sunday: 102

Monday: 103

Tuesday: 102

Wednesday: 99

Thursday: 100



Source: National Weather Service

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