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Tips for weathering the heat in New Mexico

Summer at the UNM Duck Pond
Visit Albuquerque
Summer at the UNM Duck Pond

Temperatures are climbing this week, with Roswell and southeast New Mexico well into the triple digits.

Up until now New Mexicans have been enjoying a mostly “cool” summer. It has stayed in the mid to low 80s, even dipping into the 70s, since the beginning of May. The scorching heat came out of the blue for most, but is definitely more typical of this time of year and it has many looking for relief.

Mario, who only gave his first name, was having lunch in the shade by the duck pond on the University of New Mexico campus with his daughter.

The 43-year-old father from Texas says he’s used to the heat, and has a useful tip.

“Actually, if I get too hot I get ice packs and put it on my chest, on my neck, put it behind my knees, put it underneath my armpits. I just rotate them,” he said.

UNM student Serenity, who also only gave her first name, was drawing with chalk on a campus sidewalk, using the shade from a bridge to stay cool.

“I’ve got no AC in my apartment so I’ve had to buy a couple window units, try and drink a lot of water,” she said.

Randall Hergert is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He says people should avoid working outside between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. if possible. Wear loose-fitting clothing, stay hydrated and take breaks. Don’t forget to check on kids and older folks. Also, stay in the present.

“I'm a father myself now. I’ve got to stay present-minded and make sure the kids are not left in the cars alone. It's very easy to get sidetracked with your tasks throughout the day for that,” he said.

Hergert said it’s also important to not forget our four-legged friends.

”Make sure your pets have a place to stay cool and hydrated,” he said.

For people without air conditioning, like Serenity, or those who lack shelter, Hergert recommends going to a public library or community center during the day when it’s hottest.

If you are experiencing a heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or heat cramps, the New Mexico Department of Health recommends you "move to a cool place, loosen clothing, cool down with damp cloths or take a cool bath and sip water."

NMDOH has more guidelines about staying safe in the heat online.

Hergert does say we’ll get a break by Friday as more moisture moves into eastern New Mexico.

“That can help increase our chances for afternoon thunderstorms and also help bring down the temperatures a little bit as well,” he said. “So instead of 110 being forecast at Roswell, we'll see upper 90s to 100 forecast there by next weekend. The highs here in Albuquerque will be in the lower- to mid-90s instead of around 100 degrees.”

Mia Casas is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in Journalism and Theatre at the University of New Mexico. She comes to KUNM through an internship with the New Mexico Local News Fund and is staying on as a student reporter as of fall 2023.
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