Toledo Fire Lt. Mike Whatmore knows how to make the best of a hot situation.
Wednesday, he packed up his son and daughter and headed for the beach at Sylvania's Olander Park, where the kids - Shane, 8, and Jillian, 11 - played in the water and he sunned himself in a reclining chair.
"Man, this is the best," he said, the picture of contentment.
Tireesea Taylor, 11, left, follows Malik Hinton, 11, into the pool at Willys Park in West Toledo. The high Wednesday was 94.
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The normal July 7 temperature is 83 degrees, while last year's high for the date was 80.
Mr. Whatmore said Tuesday he was assigned to Station 3 in North Toledo and "we were just praying for no fires because it was so hot. We were lucky. We didn't have any."
Hundreds of swimmers dodged the heat at Centennial Terrace and Quarry in Sylvania Township, where Jolene Morris cooled down with a dip.
"I really appreciate this," the Toledo resident said after emerging from the water. "I only have air conditioning in my bedroom, which is fine for sleeping, but I can't spend the whole day there."
The unrelenting heat resulted from "a very large dome of high pressure over the eastern third of the U.S.," according to Robert Shiels, chief meteorologist at WTOL-TV, Channel 11. "We've had very stagnant air for the past three days."
There is nothing unusual about this kind of weather right now, he continued. "July is the hottest month of the year."
The scorching temperatures posed no special challenges for Toledo Edison, spokesman Reggie Strauss said. The utility does not release information about the demand for electricity, he said.
Because of heavy air conditioner use Wednesday, the country's largest electrical grid operator - PJM Interconnection of Valley Forge, Pa. - urged electricity conservation.
Its grid serves 51 million people in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Authorities did not report any local deaths caused by the heat. But elsewhere, heat victims included a 92-year-old Philadelphia woman whose body was found Monday and a homeless woman found lying next to a car Sunday in suburban Detroit.
Blade news services contributed to this report.