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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2008

Toledo area basks as heat wave takes hold

BY GABE NELSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Ann Peltier, 10, cools off in the water while talking to, from left, Molly Musgrave, 7, her sister Abby Musgrave, 9, and Bailee Markowiak, 8, at Pickford Park Aquatic Facility in Toledo. Many public pools reached capacity early in yesterday's heat. Ann Peltier, 10, cools off in the water while talking to, from left, Molly Musgrave, 7, her sister Abby Musgrave, 9, and Bailee Markowiak, 8, at Pickford Park Aquatic Facility in Toledo. Many public pools reached capacity early in yesterday's heat.
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They say it's the humidity, not the heat.

Yesterday, the Toledo area had both, and forecasters say it's going to be that way for awhile.

And just in time, another of Toledo's public pools will be open.

Detwiler Pool, 3901 290th St., which had been under repair after thieves stole copper piping and other metal equipment, will open at noon today, city officials said.

Other city pools opened last month.

Derrick Garcia, 16, of Perrysburg retrieves his dog, Dudley, from the lake along Three Meadows Drive in Perrysburg. Dudley swam too far out in the lake while chasing ducks. Derrick Garcia, 16, of Perrysburg retrieves his dog, Dudley, from the lake along Three Meadows Drive in Perrysburg. Dudley swam too far out in the lake while chasing ducks.
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Yesterday, the area faced temperatures as high as 90 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. It was the highest temperature at Toledo Express Airport since June 9, when the mercury climbed to 94 degrees.

Brian Edwards, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc., a private forecasting firm based in State College, Pa., said the area warmed up because a high-pressure system over the Southeast started pulling heat and humidity from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest.

Mr. Edwards said he expects the system to move out by next week, allowing cooler air from Canada and the Great Lakes to move into northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Until then, residents have a good, old-fashioned summer heat wave on their hands.

The weather service predicts that the heat wave will continue with highs in the low 90s today and tomorrow, sending residents scrambling for air-conditioned places or pools.

"This really strong area of high pressure is going to hold at least through early next week, so that should keep temperatures quite a bit above average," Mr. Edwards said.

Kattie Bond, director of Toledo's Department of Neighborhoods, said officials expect this week to be among the busiest at the city's public pools.

Families packed Pickford Pool in South Toledo yesterday, filling it to capacity about half an hour after it opened at noon.

Several families stood outside in their bathing suits, waiting for others to leave the pool, which accommodates 150 people.

Bobbi Blunk of South Toledo poured water from a bottle on her son Zackary's head to cool him down as they waited.

"All of it! All of it," Zackary, 5, yelled excitedly, urging his mother to keep the water coming.

"I'm not going to have any left to drink," Mrs. Blunk said, laughing.

Inside, about 150 people, most of them young children, waited for the pool to reopen after a swim break.

When lifeguards blew the whistles, dozens of children standing on the pool's edges jumped in, splashing and yelling with excitement.

They crowded around the sprinkler, a bundle of flailing arms and legs, while they waited for the cold water to cool them down.

At the Toledo Zoo, the polar bears and seals swam in a pool chilled to about 65 degrees.

Randi Meyerson, the zoo's curator of mammals, said the polar bears can go indoors to an air-conditioned den if they start to get tired and overheated.

With the sun bearing down overhead, the female polar bear Nan and her cub, Nikita, frolicked in the water, seemingly unaffected by the heat.

"They're doing great," Ms. Meyerson said as visitors sat in the air-conditioned exhibit watching the bears dive into the water. "Our exhibit meets the animals' needs year-round, and it meets the people's needs too."

Lucas County Emergency Medical Services reported several heat-related calls yesterday.

Emilie Owens, the emergency coordinator of the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, said elderly people often become dehydrated when the heat spikes.

The office sent out a heat alert yesterday urging seniors to avoid strenuous activity, stay out of the sun, and drink plenty of fluids.

The office often keeps its air-conditioned senior centers open longer during heat waves, designating them as "cooling centers."

Ms. Owens said the weather hasn't yet justified extended hours, but the office is considering them for tomorrow.

"We're suggesting that seniors be reasonable, and that neighbors look out for older adults or disabled folks who live in their area and just make sure that they're OK," Ms. Owens said.

If 90-degree heat weren't enough to keep many people indoors, area residents also face an unusually large amount of mosquitoes.

Lee Mitchell, a biologist for the Toledo Area Sanitary District, said the mosquitoes spawned in pools of standing water from the storm that dumped several inches of rain on the Toledo area July 2.

Mr. Mitchell said the sanitary district, which mainly aims to control the mosquito population, has received about 300 calls from residents seeking relief from mosquitoes on their property.

"It's just a feeding frenzy," Mr. Mitchell said. "This week, Mother Nature has the upper hand, but we hope to get control by next week."

Contact Gabe Nelson at:

gnelson@theblade.com

or 419-724-6076.



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