By NATHAN GREGORY
Temperatures are expected to be close to reaching record highs this weekend, according to Mississippi State Climatologist Charles Wax.
Though no records are expected to be broken, predictions are that high temperatures will reach triple digits both Saturday and Sunday, he said.
The projected high temperature for Starkville Saturday is 101 degrees — just two short of the all-time recorded high of 103 degrees in 1931. The average temperature for June 30 is 88 degrees.
Sunday’s forecast calls for a high of 100 degrees, three short of the 103-degree mark set in 1954. The average high for July 1 in Starkville is 89 degrees. Rain chances are low for both days.
Wax said the actual temperature may be a degree above or below the projection, but he would be surprised to see any records broken.
“It depends on whether we get any clouds or not,” he said. “If we do, we could stay in the upper 90s.”
Wax said the recent pattern of dry, hot weather is because of a high pressure front that has locked itself over the area since Starkville and Oktibbeha County last received significant rainfall on June 11. He said that pressure system has kept rains from Tropical Storm Debby that have recently soaked the state of Florida at bay.
“We’ve been dominated in the last eight or 10 days by high pressure over us that has kept the rain (from Tropical Storm Debby) off us,” he said. “We’re needing some rain and 500 miles southeast of us they’ve gotten more than 20 inches in the past week.”
He said according to climatology and meteorology reports, the long-range forecast for the Southeast region over the next few months calls for above-normal temperatures but also at least a normal amount of precipitation if not more.
Starkville Fire Department Marshal Mark McCurdy said anyone who has to be outside should exercise care.
“We do see a rise in heat related illnesses in the South. We’re urging residents to take precautions. Be smart, don’t overdo it, take breaks and drink plenty of fluids,” McCurdy said.