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Outdoor workers in the Coastal Bend face blistering heat challenges

Posted at 10:15 PM, Jul 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-13 23:15:42-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With dangerously high temperatures scorching the Coastal Bend, it's important to limit time outdoors.

However, some in the area have jobs that are outside and they face daily challenges to keep crews cool.

"(From) 6:30-11 a.m. is probably the easiest part of the day because it’s the coolest. You can follow the shade around. From noon until four, it’ll really get you," construction worker James Hawes said.

Before the crack of dawn, Hawes and his co-workers will work to fix up an apartment complex down Ocean Drive with the sun hitting them from every angle.

Hawes said with recent temperatures hitting triple digits, he has seen his workers feeling discouraged. Regardless, they don't stop.

"When you get a job like this, your customer wants it done as quick as possible so that’s what we’re doing for them," Hawes said.

Other outdoor workers, like those who make sure our city stays clean, take proactive measures to make sure their workers stay safe in the sun — but still find it difficult to recruit with the weather.

"We do training. We make everybody aware of what a heat casualty looks like when it comes to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Sometimes finding the right people for the right job is challenging," Rene Chapa, Dock Master Operations Manager for the Corpus Christi Marina said.

For other kinds of jobs, the heat even affects their daily projects.

Tony Cortez, the owner of T&A Auto Service, said in the last few weeks, they have seen an increase in vehicles brought in because of problems with the heat.

He and his staff work on several projects a day, but recent temperatures have made that more challenging.

"The heat can make a 15-20 minute job into a 30-40 min or an hour job, depending on how frustrated and how hot you get. We try to work in the shade area and keep our fans going and that’s what helps us keep going," Cortez said.

The takeaway: if you’re going to be out in the sun, dress appropriately, stay hydrated and take lots of breaks. It’s advice you’ve heard before, but it could be words to live by.