EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

July 2, 2013

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And the weather service’s 10-day outlook indicates hotter weather is still ahead, with highs of 90 here by the Fourth of July and continuing into next week.

July heat waves are certainly not unheard of hereabouts. One old weather joke has it that there are really only two seasons in New England: winter and Fourth of July.

Discomfort aside, the weather of late also brings with it some very real danger, from flash flooding to lightning strikes to children and animals left in locked cars.

All the things your mother told you about lightning are true. Get away from the water. Don’t shelter under a tree. Act quickly. By the time thunder rumbles overhead, the lightning already has struck.

Some two dozen Boy Scouts escaped serious injury when a sudden storm rolled through their camp last week and they suffered lightning burns.

A Derry mother left her two toddlers in a locked car with the windows barely cracked while she shopped at Wal-Mart. The temperature was above 90 degrees at the time and the children were in that car for more than 20 minutes.

At that temperature, the interior of a car can reach 119 degrees within 20 minutes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

If not for the actions of several concerned citizens, the outcome could have been much worse.

Peruse the local police logs. Officers are pretty steadily called to respond to reports of dogs left unattended in this heat in parked cars.

Speak up. Get involved. Maybe you’ll save a life.

The weather will change; it always does.

But in the meantime, check on elderly neighbors, stay hydrated, keep a watchful eye on the sky and speak up for those who can’t defend themselves.

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