Extra caution urged for elderly, extra doctors to keep athletes safe and extra staff to make icecreams: Hawke's Bay's summer is here and preparations to beat the heat are in full swing.
The region is forecast to break 30 degrees for five straight days from Saturday, a heatwave that comes after an unseasonably chilly start to January.
Bruce Richardson, organiser of the Napier Port Harbour to Hills, said Saturday's heat meant they would be adding extra facilities and extra medical staff to support the competitors in what is known as one of Hawke's Bay's most gruelling endurance races.
"We have added an extra water station on the bike route and sprinklers at the stopping stations, just so we can try to beat the heat and make sure the competitors don't feel it too much," he said.
While endurance racers will be busting their guts in the heat, others will be filling them with ice cream.
Rush Munro's owner Vaughan Currie said staff were expecting a busy week and had added more staff to be able to cope.
"Our business runs on how the weather is acting so on hot days we see a definite increase which is what we are expecting come this weekend," he said.
He said that on days that get very hot and around the high 20C and 30C mark, they can find themselves scooping anywhere up to 750 ice creams.
While many will be out enjoy the sun, health experts are asking people to be careful during the hot days ahead.
Health Hawke's Bay medical director Dr Louise Haywood is urging people to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and to keep a drink bottle handy.
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Five days straight of 30 degree-plus temperatures on way as Hawke's Bay summer returns
"It's important to stay hydrated in the high temperatures and make sure children in your care are drinking enough water.
"If you're taking the whānau for a swim to cool off, make sure to protect yourself and your children from the sun as much as possible. Wear a hat, use sunscreen regularly and find a cool place for time out of the sun," she said.
"If you've got an elderly neighbour or friend, check on them to make sure they're hydrated and are feeling well."
Hawke's Bay Rural Fire Officer Trevor Mitchell said people needed to be extra cautious this time of year with the dry conditions and high temperatures a potentially problematic mix for firefighters.
He said if anyone sees smoke, they should report it immediately as no fire permits are being issued.
Mitchell has also advised that when doing anything like moving or using any power tools to do it early in the morning and out of the heat of the sun as the smallest spark could cause havoc.
Our warming Januaries
Statistics from MetService show Hawke's Bay's Januaries are getting hotter, with 30C days becoming more common.
There have been only 62 days hotter than 30C at recorded at Hawke's Bay Airport over the month of January in the past 20 years, and just four Januaries out of 20 with five or more days above 30C.
January 2017 and 2019 lead the pack with eight days each. The average January temperature has gradually increased, with occasional blips, from 23C in 2000 to around 26C in 2019.
MetService Meteorologist Lewis Ferris said it was by no means a comprehensive study of climate change in Hawke's Bay, but this type of upwards trend is to be expected.