100-Degree Weather Kills 277,400 Chickens : Heat Wave Sizzles South 4th Day
The Deep South sizzled through the fourth day of a heat wave today, with chickens dying by the hundreds of thousands and record demand for electricity as sweltering Southerners sought air-conditioned relief.
“There’s no relief in sight,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Muata Masuka in Atlanta. “This is rather unusual for this early in June.”
The early afternoon mercury climbed to 100 degrees at Augusta, Ga., 99 at Gainesville, Fla., 98 in Savannah, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla., and 97 in Macon, Ga., and Tallahassee, Fla.
Highs today in both states were expected to top 100 degrees.
Georgia Power Co. reported all-time record use of electricity Monday--12.7 million kilowatts--with a repeat expected today. In Atlanta, the grueling heat provided a land-office business for ice cream and air-conditioning stores.
Georgia agriculture officials said the heat has killed about 277,400 head of poultry in the last four days, and the weather service said the heat could threaten other livestock and non-irrigated crops.
Wayne Shaffer, a weather forecaster in Gainesville, said the heat was triggered by a large high-pressure system dominating the eastern Gulf of Mexico and east coast of Florida and stifling sea breezes.