Fans feel temperature risin' in Memphis during Elvis Week

By WILL YORK
Associated Press Writer

There are two good reasons anyone in Memphis could have "a hunk of burning love" on the brain this week.

One, it's Elvis Week, when thousands of fans will turn out to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Two, the temperatures are forecast to be above 100 for the next five days.

It hasn't been this hot in Memphis since 1954, when Elvis was experimenting with rock 'n' roll at Sun Records and singing around town atop flatbed trucks.

Temperatures in Memphis were expected to climb to 105 degrees on Monday, which would be the fourth consecutive day of triple-digit highs.

"It's going to be nasty hot," National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Beal said.

Temperatures in Memphis will likely set records through Thursday, with humidity climbing as the week goes on.

"For someone who's not from around this area, it could be a somewhat stressful time," Beal said.

Elvis Week organizers have set up free water and ice stations for fans who feel their temperatures risin'.

"We have, of course, emergency personnel on the property," Graceland spokeswoman Regina Jackson said. "There's not a lot we can do. It's just going to be hot."

Jackson said organizers do not plan to educate the many international fans who may not be familiar with Southern heat.

"If you get hot, you do what you got to do," Jackson said. "There's not a whole lot we can do about that."

Since the heat wave began Aug. 3, at least 52 people went to hospital emergency rooms in Memphis because of heat-related health problems and one person has died, health authorities said.

Tennessee's heat wave extends well past Memphis.

This month is on track to be the hottest August on record in Nashville, the weather service says.

Since Aug. 7, the high has topped 100 degrees each day but Saturday, when it reached 99. Average temperatures in Nashville are tracking more than 4 degrees hotter than August 1995, which averaged 83.3 degrees.

The medical examiner is investigating whether a high school football referee who died on the field Friday during a game in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood may have suffered from heat exhaustion.

Even spots in the state that normally are cool are hitting record highs.

Clingmans Dome - the Great Smoky Mountains National Park site and highest point in Tennessee - hit 72 degrees Friday, tying a record, National Park Service spokesman Bob Miller said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)