Heat’s just a matter of degrees for some

Temperatures might have soared to 110 degrees Wednesday in Las Vegas, but one local golfer stood defiant.

“Heat? What’s heat?” Bob Blackman said between afternoon practice shots. “The heat don’t bother me.”

Blackman was one of a few die-hards who made it out to the Las Vegas Golf Club on Wednesday.

Also on the driving range was Cliff Williams, who said that at some point, the exact temperature is not all that important.

“If it’s over 100, for me, it doesn’t matter how hot it is,” Williams said. “There’s not much difference between 105 and 120.”

Others might beg to differ.

Between 100 degrees and 110, said Jeff Cochran, the golf club’s director of instruction, “there’s a noticeable difference.”

A significant part of that difference is hydration. Around 110 degrees, Cochran said, it’s important to be hydrated before heading out for golf.

“In the mid-90s, low 100s, you can bounce back,” he said. “At 110, once you’re behind, you’re behind.”

And so it was Wednesday, the first day of the year that the mercury hit the 110 mark at the official monitoring station at McCarran International Airport.

As to whether there’s really a degree of difference in the difference in degrees, Allen Anderson said there is.

“At 100, nothing’s ever said. When you start getting 105 and 110, then it’s a problem,” said Anderson, pipefitter general foreman at the Water Reclamation Facility Project in North Las Vegas.

Like Cochran, Anderson stressed that people keep hydrated when temperatures reach 110.

Workers start the day at 5 a.m. and don’t break until 8:30 a.m.

“We try to stretch it out,” Anderson said. “That’s the coolest part of the day.”

The workers take a half-hour lunch at 11:30 a.m. and leave for the day at 1:20 p.m. But even in the early afternoon, Anderson said, he can’t push his men too hard.

“I don’t get on the guys at all after lunch,” he said. “It’s just too damn hot.”

The site has a buddy plan in place to watch for dehydration.

“If we see someone acting a little silly, we’re not gonna assume he’s on drugs. We’re gonna assume he’s overheated,” Anderson said.

Scott Caracciolo, a safety professional at the site, said shade is always available, as is cool, potable water. He said workers meet every morning to review heat-related precautions.

Anderson said some workers wear gel packs inside their hard hats or around their necks to keep cool. Some wear long sleeves and wet their wrists, so even a gentle breeze can help cool them down.

All these efforts combat field temperatures that can rise above what’s reported at McCarran.

Cochran said golfers adjust their tee times to avoid the hottest part of the day. The club sees about a 50 percent drop in afternoon tee times when the mercury approaches 110.

AccuWeather meteorologist Carl Erickson said the heat wave is expected to last through the weekend into early next week.

He said highs of 110 or 111 degrees are expected through Monday.

The National Weather Service issues a heat warning at 112 degrees.

Jace Radke, a public information officer for the city of Las Vegas, said that under a heat warning, the city and Clark County would possibly open several daytime cooling shelters, which primarily would serve the homeless.

For now, though, no cooling stations have been opened.

Michael Rodriguez, spokesman for the Clark County School District, said the district’s year-round schools also have not made any major adjustments because of the heat.

Rodriguez said that recess may be shortened or moved indoors, but that several schools have shade available for outdoor play.

“Nothing particularly changes, per se,” Rodriguez said. “We are used to these temperatures.”

Contact reporter Dan Everson at 702-383-0245.

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