CHARLOTTE, N.C. Charlotte fire and EMS personnel urged the public to stay hydrated and keep an eye out for severe weather during CarlolinaFest as temperatures climbed to 90 degrees and the dew point reached a steamy 70 degrees.
At 2 p.m., the dew point was indicative of the tropical moisture smothering our area from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. The heat index was 97 degrees and storms were forecasted as the atmosphere was unusually active.
After about 25 people -- several of which were police officers -- were treated for heat-related issues at the Sept. 2 March on Wall Street protest, officials held an impromptu press conference to ask the public to stay safe and cool.
“We had police officers that were overcome by heat, wearing all their gear,” said Tim Marshburn, operations supervisor of Mecklenburg EMS Agency, who has worked in Charlotte the last 23 years. “They hydrated but they still had some issues and concerns. We transported a couple of those, but the majority we were able to get into a cooler environment. We also used our four rehydration stations throughout the city for the police, fire and EMS.
CarolinaFest had water available to the public as well as misting stations and some nice big gusts of wind. Marshburn also said people should keep their eyes to skies
“We’re encouraging folks to hydrate, take precautions with the heat and also be aware of pop-up storms and bad weather,” said Marshburn. “We just want people to stay safe and stay hydrated because we don’t want people to have to call us but we do have resources in place.”
Mayor Anthony Foxx, the city’s second African-American mayor, braved the heat in a long-sleeved button-up shirt and a tie.
“We’re encouraging everyone to drink a lot of water,” he said. “It’s going to be hot today, but I’d rather be hot than wet. It’s a little hotter than I would expect for this time of year, but I’d rather take the heat over the rain.”
Today was Thomas Butler’s second day as Pedi-cab driver. He said he usually drinks about two gallons of water a day while transporting people about the city.
“I live in Austin Texas, so this is not hot for me at all,” he said. “This is nothing.”
Stewart Pittman, a cameraperson for Fox 8 out of Greensboro, NC, was lugging around 20-30 pounds worth of equipment. He said once it reaches a certain temperature and humidity levels, it doesn’t matter. Hot is hot.
“My equipment is pretty lightweight, but I’ve been walking for blocks and I’ll be walking for blocks until midnight,” said Pittman. “We’ve got triple the amount of assignments from a typical day. Instead of working on one news story, we’re working on three or four. I will be running around gathering content until we get enough.
“The breeze and wind tunnel effect from some of the buildings is delicious.”