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Published: Tuesday, 7/18/2006

Pools are hot as area sweats out heat wave

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Ramelle Smith sips water
while working on Byrne Road
near Hill Avenue yesterday.
Ramelle Smith sips water while working on Byrne Road near Hill Avenue yesterday.
Enlarge

For many people yesterday, it was all about how to beat the heat.

Temperatures rose above 90 degrees yesterday in the Toledo area for the third day in a row, creating uncomfortable and potentially dangerous conditions for elderly people and young children, as well as roofers, postal carriers, and others who have to work outdoors.

The highest temperature recorded in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan yesterday was 92 degrees at Toledo Metcalf Field in Lake Township, Wood County, according to the National Weather Service.

The mercury reached 91 degrees at Toledo Express Airport in Swanton.

But the heat index, a measurement of how hot it really feels outside considering temperature, humidity, some shade with light wind, peaked at 97 degrees in Findlay. And forecasters with the National Weather Service expect very little relief in the next few days with temperatures in the mid to upper-80s.

Julia Kotowicz, center, plays cards with friends at the Zablocki Senior Center on Lagrange Street in Toledo, a designated cooling center for area seniors seeking relief from the heat wave.
Julia Kotowicz, center, plays cards with friends at the Zablocki Senior Center on Lagrange Street in Toledo, a designated cooling center for area seniors seeking relief from the heat wave.
Enlarge

Olivia Moya, 61, of Toledo, was one of several people who spent yesterday at the Zablocki Senior Center at 3015 Lagrange Street in Toledo's Polish neighborhood trying to escape the intense heat outside. The center was one of five designated "cooling centers" open for extended hours so seniors had a place to stay out of the heat.

Although she loves summer, Mrs. Moya, who is diabetic, said the heat sometimes keeps her from being outdoors as much as she'd like. "You can't water your plants, you can't sit outside," she said. "You can't do nothing with the heat."

Daniel Sunday, an 81-year-old Toledoan who has emphysema and has difficulty breathing, said he tried not to let summer's heat and humidity stop him from doing normal, daily activities.

"I live a normal life," he said, adding he mowed his lawn just the other day.

But when the heat became unbearable yesterday, Mr. Sunday joined several other seniors in the air-conditioned Zablocki center.

Emilie Owens, emergency coordinator at the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, said older adults need to limit their time outdoors during the hottest part of the day, and should be aware of the increased risk of heat exhaustion and heat strokes during the hot weather.

"A lot of times, people assume they are OK, and they don't take it seriously," she said. "If you're already having difficulty with respiratory system or cardiac system, this heat and humidity creates much more of a burden for your heart and lungs."

One case of heat exhaustion and one case of heat stroke were reported at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

To help offer relief from the heat, Toledo's department of parks, recreation, and forestry yesterday opened four of its five complex pools, which are usually closed on Mondays.

At Bowling Green's City Park, the playground was deserted but the swimming pool was swarming. "There are well over 200 people here and we just opened at 1:30 p.m.," Ed Collins, assistant manager of the pool, said about 2:30 p.m. "For a weekday, that's huge."

Nine-year-old Hannah Elder said she normally has to get used to the water in the outdoor pool, but not yesterday. "It's warmer than usual, but it's still good," she said.

Clay Edwards, 7, said he's at the pool just about every day, but yesterday was clearly the hottest so far. "It's like 101 if you just stand in one place," he said during a sunscreen break.

With a deep tan and a big smile, Susie Dunn, administrator of Dunn's Kiddie Kare, a local day care center, said she and her employees brought 26 first- through fourth-graders to the Bowling Green pool.

"We're loving it," she said, adding that the pool crowd was bigger than usual. "We're not one bit surprised it's this busy."

Martin Thompson, a meteorologist at the National Weather service's Cleveland office, said today's high temperature is expected to reach 86 degrees with a chance of showers and thunderstorms, and tomorrow's predicted high is 89.

Staff Writer Jennifer Feehan contributed to this report.

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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