SEBRING — The Memorial Day weekend kicks-off the summertime season and there is no doubt that spring is gone with a forecast for above average temperatures in the mid 90s coupled with a UV index in the “extreme” range.
The Weather Channel is predicting high temperatures for today of 97 degrees for Sebring and Venus and 96 degrees for Avon Park and Lake Placid. The Sunday forecast for Highlands County calls for highs of 95 or 96 and Monday’s highs are projected to hit 94 or 95 degrees.
The average high is 91 degrees this time of the year. The record high in Sebring for May 24 is 99 degrees in 1962.
Meteorologist Alan Archer said high temperatures are not unusual for this time of the year.
The summer thunderstorm season starts around the second week in June, he explained, so in late May and early June there is an abundance of heat due to a lack of cloud cover and a lack of the afternoon thunders storms, which cool the temperatures.
Archer expects highs around 95 degrees today in Highlands County and 93 degrees on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
“But, there will be some widely scattered afternoon and evening thundershowers developing, especially next week,” he said. “The interior parts of the state will be hotter this weekend because of the lack of sea breezes reaching mainly inland into our area and the lack of clouds.”
The mid 90s highs are not unusual, but it is significant for people being outdoors for a length of time especially on the holiday weekend, Archer said.
On a scale of 0 to 11 plus, the weekend’s forecasted UV Index reading of 11 means extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Take all precautions because unprotected skin and eyes can burn in minutes, the EPA advises. Try to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
If outdoors, seek shade and wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses and generously apply broad spectrum SPF 30-plus sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating.
Highlands County fishing guide Mark Beaver noted that a wide-brimmed hat with ventilation holes will keep your head much cooler than a baseball cap, which retains the heat because it only has four small holes.
“It gets twice as hot as a straw hat,” he said.
While outside and boating, he wears long-sleeved outdoor-wear shirts with an SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
“Even though it is a long-sleeved shirt it will actually keep you cool,” Beaver said.
He wears pants with zippered legs that can convert from long pants during cool mornings to shorts for the hot afternoons.
Beaver advises to drink plenty of water or sports drinks.