How hot is it? Hot enough for the sun to boil crabs in their natural habitat, in a few inches of water.
Hancock County emergency management officials responded Tuesday morning to a report of a fish kill in the marshes, inland from the beach at Clermont Harbor. They found thousands of dead fish and a number of crabs, apparent victims of the brutal heat that has been pounding the landscape.
The dead fish included menhaden, croakers and trout, officials said. They were found in extremely shallow waters at out-falls in marshes near the CSX railroad tracks.
John Albert Evans, deputy director of the Hancock Emergency Management Agency, said the fish did not have enough water to swim away, and died in the heat. “The base temperature yesterday was 104 and the heat index was 110. With that little water, these fish boiled,” he said.
The dead crabs were so deeply cooked by nature that their shells turned red, as if they had been boiled in a pot.
Dr. Robert Travnicek, district health officer for the Mississippi Department of Health, said the current weather pattern is equally dangerous for humans. Heatstroke can come unexpectedly and be fatal, he said.
“It can some so quickly you don’t know what hits you,” Travnicek said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, heatstroke can be brought on by exercise or other exertion in high temperatures and a lack of hydration. Signs can include rapid heartbeat, fast, shallow breathing, a change in blood pressure, lightheadedness or dizziness, nausea and fainting.
Victims should be moved out of the sun, cooled with water or damp towels, and given cool water or other non-alcoholic beverage without caffeine. Medical help should be called immediately.
The weather forecast through Friday calls for highs in the mid-90s with a chance of rain. The heat index – which combines air temperature and relatively humidity to give the human perception of equivalent temperature – will be around 110. Stay inside if possible, stay cool and drink plenty of liquids, health experts advise.
BY: J.R. Welsh
The Sea Coast Echo