Northeast Alabama was under a heat advisory through Tuesday night, with temperatures just a few degrees from reaching records set over a decade ago, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures at Anniston Regional Airport reached 98 degrees Monday and 100 by about 5 p.m. Tuesday, only missing by a few degrees the mark of record temperatures in Calhoun County in 2007. According to Gerald Satterwhite, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Calera station, Anniston reached 100 degrees on Aug. 12 and 102 degrees on Aug. 13 that year. At Talladega’s airport, the mercury hit 101 degrees Tuesday.
“The normal for this time of year is around 90,” Satterwhite said.
But that’s not necessarily a sign of an impending “heatocalypse.” Satterwhite said temperatures so high over the average should only be a concern if they happen annually. As a fluke heat wave, it’s not a sign of greater import.
A weak cold front should arrive from the north Wednesday that will take temperatures back down toward the low 90s, he said, with a chance of some showers.
Humidity helped push the heat index as high as 110 degrees in some counties Monday and Tuesday, according to data posted to the service’s website. The heat index reached 106 in Anniston just before 2 p.m.
Holly Allen, another meteorologist at the Weather Service’s Calera station, said Monday that the heat index was unlikely to rise again toward the weekend. Still, temperatures will remain high as summer continues to swelter. Allen said outdoor work should be done with some considerations.
“Take precautions if you do have to be outside,” she said. “If you can put it off until closer to sunset, do that.”
Those obligated to work outside should drink plenty of water, wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, and take regular breaks to avoid overheating, she said.
Allen added that hot months are a good time to check on neighbors and make sure they’ve got a way to keep cool, and to be sure that outside pets have shade and plenty of water.
Various community and civic centers were open for use as cooling centers Monday and Tuesday, according to local governments, including:
— Piedmont Civic Center at 500 Mill St.
— In Anniston, Carver Community Center at 720 W. 14th St.; Hodges Community Center at 3125 Spring Valley Road; Wiggins Community Center at 2202 W. 17th St.; and South Highland Community Center at 229 Allen Ave.
— Jacksonville Community Center at 501 Alexandria Road SW.
— The Oxford Civic Center at 401 McCullars Lane; Friendship Community Center at 2930 Friendship Road.
— Bynum Community Center at 200 Victory Drive in Eastaboga.
Meanwhile, Calhoun County's southwest corner has been included in an “abnormally dry” area within the last month, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, though the current map shows a smaller portion of that corner in a dry zone.
Most of Talladega and Cleburne counties were included in the dry zone, though, along with a little less than half of southern St. Clair County. According to the monitor, about 13 percent of the state's population is in drought, with 24 percent more in abnormally dry areas.