Mel Smith-Agin, a Miller Bros. Construction Inc. employee out of Archbold, wipes the sweat off of her face Thursday while directing traffic and construction vehicles at the corner of Briarfield Boulevard and Salisbury Road.
"Hot" doesn't begin to describe how it felt outside Thursday.
In fact, the unofficial record-breaking day was almost smothering, as the heat index rose to 109, causing most people to either seek shelter inside or anywhere that had water.
Venus Strozier, of North Toledo, packed five kids into her Saturn and got to the Willys Park pool on Toledo's west end early. The heat drove her to jump off a diving board for the first time in her 44 years.
“I’m always scared of how it wobbles,” she said. “But today it’s hot.”
The temperature reached 102 degrees at Toledo Express Airport Thursday afternoon, surpassing 100 for the first time since 1995 and breaking the 99-degree Toledo record for July 21.
The temperature was 105 at Toledo Executive Airport, which matches the all-time Toledo record high set downtown in 1936. But that 105 degrees won’t go into the local record book because Toledo Express is now the official reporting location for Toledo. Records in Detroit and Cleveland were also shattered Thursday.
The searing temperatures continued a week of oppressive heat, the result of a huge ridge of high pressure that is sending warm, moist air from the south, said Kristen Schuler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland. The heat index, which takes into account the effect of humidity, reached 109.
The weather service issued an excessive heat warning until 9 p.m. Thursday and a heat advisory through 9 p.m. Friday. Just slightly cooler weather is forecast for Friday and the weekend, with highs in the low- to mid-90s and a heat index of 100 to 104 degrees.
A blackout that affected 6,000 Toledo Edison customers further complicated the efforts of many Toledoans to keep cool. The power outage stemmed from a substation problem Thursday afternoon and power was restored around 5:15 p.m, utility spokesman Debbie Paul said.
The cause of the problem, which involved a tripped circuit breaker at the Hawley Street substation, is still under investigation, she said.
One of the customers without power was the Lucas County Dog Pound, said Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle. No dogs died or collapsed in the heat, Ms. Lyle said. The facility activated all three of its power generators to power electric fans, which are located near the cages that hold the dogs, she said.
In an effort to provide another form of relief, the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc., announced expanded cooling center hours for the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses. The organization also said the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority’s TARPS service and Black & White Cab will provide free transportation to and from the cooling centers.
The new cooling center hours are:
East Toledo Senior Center, 1001 White St., Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friendship Park Senior Center, 2930 131st St., Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
J. Frank Troy Senior Center, 1235 Division St., 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Margaret Hunt Senior Center, 2121 Garden Lake Pkwy., Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Eleanor Kahle Senior Center, 1315 Hillcrest Drive, Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Senior Center Inc., 2308 Jefferson Ave., Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mayores Senior Center, 1 Aurora Gonzalez Drive, Friday, 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
East Toledo Family Center, 1020 Varland Ave., Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Zablocki Senior Center, 3015 Lagrange St., Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sylvania Senior Center, 7140 West Sylvania Ave., Sylvania, Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Community Development Center, 330 Oak Terrace Blvd., Holland, Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Maumee Senior Center, 2430 South Detroit Ave., Friday, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
Hancock Senior Center, 5760 Bayshore Rd., Oregon, Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In Bowling Green, the Wood County Senior Center, 305 North Main St., will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday.
Staff writers David Patch and Sara Felsenstein contributed to this report.
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