Just a few months after one of the longest and coldest winters in recent memory, the area may be facing an intense summer. According to Brian LaSorsa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, indicators suggest above normal temperatures for the region through August.
Elevated temperatures pose risks to children and pets left in hot cars, a phenomenon that has been brought to national attention by the case of Justin Harris, a Georgia man charged with the murder of his 22-month-old son who died of heatstroke after being left in Harris’ car. According to the advocacy group KidsAndCars.org, an average of 38 children die of heatstroke every year after being left unattended in a car.
“Throughout the summer months, we stress that children should never be left unattended in a vehicle,” said MCPD spokesperson Rebecca Innocenti. “Parents should get in the habit of always looking in the front and back when they get out of their cars, and always lock their cars so that children playing outside cannot enter them.”
Innocenti said citizens should call 911 immediately if they notice a child or pet left unattended in a car.
Extreme temperatures place greater demand on county facilities’ heating and cooling systems and thus are a drain on budgetary resources, according to Eric Coffman, chief of the Office of Energy and Sustainability for the county’s Department of General Services.
“We haven’t seen a winter like that in 10 years,” Coffman said. “Fortunately, that was the last budget year.”
Coffman is overseeing efforts to retrofit several county facilities with more efficient climate control systems and microgrids which will enable them to operate independently of the main power grid for extended periods of time.
“Obviously, more efficient buildings respond better to extreme weather, and are more budget-friendly, so it’s a win-win,” Coffman said.