Wednesday, Jul 30th

Last updateWed, 30 Jul 2014 8am

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Today's Forecast: HOT!

With temperatures predicted to top the century mark today in Halifax County, authorities are urging residents to stay out of the heat whenever possible. But many county and town residents hold outdoor jobs that make it impossible to avoid prolonged exposure to sunshine and the accompanying heat.

Paula Jones, VDOT Lynchburg District public affairs manager, said they try to adjust the hours of work for their employees who work on roads in the area.

“We try to set work schedules so our workers are not out in the hottest part of the day,” Jones said. “We remind them to stay hydrated and to get into the shade if possible.”

Jones said VDOT workers are told to be aware of the condition of those working close to them. “We tell our employees to watch out for one another,” she said.

Town employees in Halifax are urged to keep hydrated throughout the day. “We placed five-gallon coolers on the town vehicles last year,” said Assistant Town Clerk Denise Barksdale. “Workers also are told to take a break whenever they feel they need it to get out of the sun.”

Halifax workers also are urged to wear appropriate clothing to protect against the sun, Barksdale added.

In South Boston, jobs that require prolonged exposure to sun and heat are scheduled for the morning hours, according to Alan Auld, director of public works. “We schedule road jobs, such as laying asphalt, for the morning before it gets too hot,” he said. “In the afternoon we’ll put them to work in grassy areas or those with shade.”

Auld said hydration is important in maintaining the well being of town employees during excessively hot days. “We stock all trucks with iced Gatorade,” he explained. “If it gets too bad, we’ll pull the workers in to do jobs around the shop and inside.”

If the heat begins to get to an employee, Auld said they know to get in the shade and out of the direct sunlight. “We’re not going to take a chance with it,” he said.

Willie Jones, executive director of the Halifax County Service Authority (HCSA), said work schedules are adjusted to put the heavier jobs in the morning. “We try to focus on lighter work in the heat of the day,” Jones said. “For example, our meter readers will take their readings first and then handle other work orders.”

Jones said HCSA vehicles are equipped with water coolers, and employees are told to stay hydrated throughout the workday.

Mary Ann Womack of Gupton Sheet Metal said their workers come in early on days when heat is a factor. “There’s no shade up on top of a roof, so we tell our employees to use sunscreen,” she said. “We also tell them to drink plenty of water or Gatorade and ice,” she added.

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg is predicting the chance of isolated thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and into the weekend that may provide a brief respite from the current heat wave that has enveloped Halifax County and most of the east coast from the Carolinas into New England over the past four days.

The most important factor to remember during periods of excessive heat is to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids, authorities said. If possible, stay out of the sun and remain indoors in air conditioning, they added.