Wade Spees // The Post and Courier
“Sun’s always beating down, but you get a couple of breezes coming in every now and then to cool you off,” said Joe Baggott, 19, as he stoked the hot smokers mounted on the bed of a 1957 Chevy truck Tuesday outside the Smokey Oak Taproom on James Island.
Floyd Conner and his roofing crew took a break from Tuesday's broiling sun in the cool shade at a veterinary hospital they were working on in Mount Pleasant.
"It was scorching up there. A furnace," said Conner, a Cross resident.
It won't be any cooler today.
Forecasters call for a repeat of the swelter that brought a punishing heat index of 112 by late afternoon at the National Weather Service office at Charleston International Airport.
The tri-county area today can expect temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s with high humidity. It will feel like up to 115 in some places.
And even for the Lowcountry, that's miserable.
A heat advisory will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
But that should be the worst of it, with a rain chance for the rest of the week expected to ease the heat and humidity.
The region is stuck under the sweaty thumb of a high pressure air mass, keeping the sticky, hazy heat against the ground. What wind there is has blown out to sea, keeping the cooling sea breeze at bay.
It's a big thumb, squashing the air all the way from Texas to Virginia. South Carolina is getting some of the worst of it, and the state has been under heat advisories and heat warnings.
That means overdoing it can bring heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Conner said his roofing crew work from 7 a.m. "until they've had enough." They pace themselves. "If they get too hot, they come down and get in the shade. If you try to get up there and hustle in this stuff, you'll wind up falling on your face," he said.
There were only three calls for heat-related illnesses Tuesday and all of them came around 11 a.m., said Don Lundy, director of Charleston County EMS. He said he thinks people take precautions when heat warnings are issued.
Workers like the Johnnie Dodds Boulevard road crews will be back out in it today after struggling Tuesday with the effects of high temperatures.
"Stifling," said Graham Fluerty of Summerville. While working on the boulevard-widening project, he took plenty of breaks and made sure to drink lots of water.
"Literally gallons," he said.
Aaron Williams of Charleston said he tried not to think about the heat too much while directing traffic around the road construction. A cloth under his hard hat draped his face and neck for extra protection from the sun. He drank a lot of water.
"It's terrible. I try not to complain, but summer never was one of my favorite times of year," he said.
By Friday, the forecast high might drop below 90 with a 60 percent chance of rain, according to the Weather Service.
Until then, carpenters Tony Gruette of Summerville and Selby Wilson of North Charleston will be doing their best to stay cool and hydrated.
Gruette said he drinks about a gallon of water on the job.
"Try to stay out of the sun," Wilson said.