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Scorching temperatures predicted for weekend

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Plenty of people could be seen Friday afternoon at the New Mexico Military Institute Golf Course in spite of high temperatures around 95 degrees. Temperatures will climb on Saturday and Sunday, according to meteorologists, who expect that a heat advisory is likely for Sunday. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Extremely hot days are predicted for the Roswell area Saturday and Sunday, with forecasts indicating that the temperatures could challenge records and result in a heat advisory.

As of press time, the National Weather Service was predicting that temperatures could reach 103 degrees Fahrenheit today and 107 degrees Sunday.

The agency is likely to issue a heat advisory for Sunday, said Clay Anderson, a meteorologist with the Albuquerque office of the National Weather Service.

“There is a little more that goes into it, but, generally speaking, we issue advisories for the Roswell area when the temperature is 105 or above,” he said.

Sunday’s expected high of 107 “will challenge” the June 20 record of 108 degrees, which Anderson said was set in 1996.

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Anderson indicated that the weekend forecast is not expected to change, but temperatures will drop a degree or two next week.

“In terms of Sunday, there is nothing going to stop the heat from coming,” he said, “but there will be a cold front at the start of next week. We call it a cold front, because technically that is what it is, but it will only lower the temperatures by a few degrees.”

During scorching hot temperatures, Anderson said, people are advised to stay in air-conditioned settings as much as possible, to drink fluids and to check frequently on animals, neighbors and loved ones.

If people have to be outdoors, he advised them to wear light, loose fitting clothing and to be aware of any signs of possible heat-related illnesses that would require emergency medical care.

According to a heat safety website of the National Weather Service, heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, along with heavy sweating, could be the first signs of difficulties. The agency recommends that people seek medical attention if cramps continue for more than an hour. Heat exhaustion symptoms are listed as heavy sweating, weakness or tiredness, cool or clammy skin, cramps, dizziness or vomiting. Heat stroke could include the other symptoms, as well as a body temperature of 103 or higher and loss of consciousness.

A spokesman for a local electric company serving a large portion of the Roswell area said that it is prepared to meet the increased energy needs during the high heat.

“We have a generating reserve of about 20% over what we expect we will need to meet the higher demand,” said Wes Reeves, senior media relations representative with Xcel Energy of Texas and New Mexico. “We continue to monitor key substations to ensure our distribution system has enough capacity to move the extra power it will take to keep everyone cool, and so far have weathered the heat well. It’s possible we could see a few localized issues with overloaded transformers, but we are prepared to move quickly if that happens.”

He said people can help reduce the load on transformers by lowering thermostats, reducing stress on air-conditioning units and waiting until after 7 p.m. to do such tasks as cooking and laundry that consume a lot of energy and add heat to the home.