The thermometer settled at 97 degrees Monday, but with an increase in humidity it felt like 101 degrees.
Four days of consecutive triple-digit temperatures have kept many people from outdoor activities. The extreme heat also could have played a role in the death of two children late last week in Bradley County.
Investigation continues in what was initially reported as a swimming-related incident, according to information from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is not expected to release additional information until the results of autopsies on both boys have been released, according to Bob Gault, public information officer.
Services were scheduled today at the North Chapel of the Jim Rush Funeral Homes for River Wade Bates, 3, and his brother, Leland Cole Bates, 5.
Temperatures began rising Thursday and settled at 105 degrees just before 5 p.m. The temperature didn’t drop below the 100-degree mark until nearly 9 p.m.
Friday’s temperature reached 109 degrees at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency and humidity prompted the highest locally recorded heat index at 110 degrees. Saturday was the longest 100-plus degree day, when the thermometer shot up to 108 at 1:38 p.m. and didn’t fall below 100 degrees until 9:56 p.m.
A thunderstorm moved into the area Sunday night wetting some portions of the area and bringing winds of 17 mph and greater. Trees were reported down in Bradley and Polk counties, affecting utility customers and shutting off air conditioners when utility lines were damaged, according to reports from Volunteer Energy Cooperative officials.
Only .18 inches of rain was recorded at the local EMA office after the National Weather Service in Morristown sent out Severe Thunderstorm alerts just before 11 p.m. Sunday.
Thunderstorms and hail also rolled through portions of Hamilton, Meigs, McMinn and Bradley counties Monday evening dumping much-needed rain in some areas. The Wacker weather station recorded .10 inch of rain in Charleston Monday.
“Residents should continue to use caution when outdoor activities are involved,” said Troy Spence, director of CBCEMA.
He added, “Even when the temperatures are in the 90s, you don’t have to perform strenuous activity to be quickly overcome by the heat. The extreme heat we have experienced in the past few days creates a great deal of stress on your body. Be sure to stay hydrated, wear lighter clothing, take rest breaks frequently and watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.”
Temperatures should settle in near 95 degrees for the daytime highs and the upper 60s for overnight lows.
On Monday, a joint statement by the area’s two fire chiefs — Steve Haun for the Cleveland Fire Department and Dewey Woody of Bradley County Fire Rescue — urged caution in the use of fireworks in locations where they are legal. Dry conditions are contributing to the increased threat of brush fires.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland confirmed Monday the community fireworks celebration scheduled Wednesday night at the Bradley Square Mall is still on schedule; however, he pointed out Cleveland fire trucks will be on hand at the scene in case of emergency. Rowland urged area residents to remember safety first and foremost in all use of fireworks, especially with the current heat and dry conditions.
The use of fireworks is illegal inside the city limits of Cleveland. The annual community celebration is exempted.