Heat is on with more to come

Paul Zoeller/Staff Jaylen McKinley, 6, of West Ashley cools off while throwing around a beach ball in the fountain Wednesda at Waterfront Park.

Paul Zoeller

UPDATE: The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday. High temperatures in the mid to upper 90s combined with moderate humidity will produce heat index values of 105 to 109 degrees this afternoon.

Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with this week.

Storms late Tuesday brought hail, damaging wind and flooding, with an inch or more of rain in some areas. Temperatures in the 90s and moderate levels of humidity caused heat indices Wednesday between 100 and 104 degrees — and that’s just the beginning.

The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement for southeast South Carolina and southeast Georgia, warning residents and visitors to use caution today through Tuesday as more excessive heat is expected.

Excessive heat combined with heavy moisture also could result in severe thunderstorms tonight as a brief cold front passes over the region.

The Charleston National Weather Service said there were no reports of tornadoes or severe damage from Tuesday’s storms, but tonight’s storms “have the potential to be stronger.”

The weather also has been affecting wildlife. A cooler spring caused male alligators to cross roadways this month as they tried to warm up and search for a mate. It is not unusual for the public to come across alligators during mating season, but they are a few weeks behind schedule, said Ron Russell of Gator Getter Consultants.

Russell said mating later in the season can be detrimental to baby alligators as they need 72 days to hatch. He said the peak of mating season has passed, and he predicts that reports of wandering alligators, which normally travel at night, will decline.

Because of the excessive heat, humans should try to schedule strenuous activities for earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. Monitor your body for heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms are profuse sweating, fatigue, thirst, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness, vomiting, dark urine and confusion. Wear light, loose clothing and drink plenty of water.

Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560 or jmcduffie@postandcourier.com.