Maumee’s Rolf Park Pool is packed with swimmers trying to beat the heat Tuesday, when local high readings hovered around 90 and 91. Last year at this time, Toledo already had four 100-degree days.
The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Hot pink goggles covering her eyes, Samaria Ladd clutched her best friend's hand and jumped into Maumee's Rolf Park Pool.
With an unusually high heat index, some emergency cooling centers in Lucas County have extended their hours Wednesday and Thursday. Hours for local centers are:
With friend Jasmine Harris, 9, in tow, the 8-year-old from South Toledo sprang backward from the pool’s edge and performed backflips in the shallow water.
“It’s summer, and we're out of school and it’s really fun,” Samaria said, flashing a smile as she crawled out of the water.
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Splashing in the pool also helped her beat the Toledo area’s second day of 90-degree heat — a weather pattern that forecasters expect to stick around awhile.
No records are in danger, but the area is in the middle of its first extended heat wave since last summer, with highs in the 90s predicted for three more days after hitting 90 and 91 on Monday and Tuesday respectively at Toledo Express Airport.
Tuesday’s high at The Blade building downtown was just under 92 degrees at 2:30 p.m.
A year ago today, Toledo hit 100 for the fourth and final time of last summer, so a week like this one should be a breeze, right?
But with high humidity, the temperatures today and Thursday, in particular, could feel close to 100, and forecasters said nighttime lows in the mid 70s will offer little relief. A heat advisory was posted Tuesday for southeast Michigan, and a similar caution was possible in northwest Ohio today.
“Not much change is expected through the end of the week,” said Martin Thompson, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Cleveland.
Brian Zattau, 44, Rolf Park Pool’s assistant manager, said pool attendance has been strong since Saturday, when the current warm spell started to build after the summer began with clouds and rain.
“All season long, we've been very slow, and now we've overcompensated,” Mr. Zattau said. “We have a spell like this every year. If it hits 90, things get crazy.”
Nancy Sanford, 54, of Maumee, who visited Rolf Park on Tuesday with grandson Gavin McKee, 5, said, “With the hot weather, the pool is perfect. It won't last and it'll be winter before you know it.”
At the pool’s kiddie playground, Fostoria native Deacon Reed, 12, pulled a red lever, shooting thin streams of water into the air.
“It got so hot yesterday most of [my relatives] got sick,” said Deacon, who visited Cedar Point on Monday with his family. “We went home and turned on the air conditioner.”
The Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio announced Tuesday the availability of 42 senior citizens’ and community centers in Lucas and surrounding counties as “emergency cooling centers” for people, especially older adults and those with disabilities, who are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness.
An office statement said even a few hours in an air-conditioned place can reduce the risk of heat stress or heat stroke.
The senior centers are to reopen today and Thursday, and a decision will be made today about continuing on Friday, said Justin Moor, the agency’s vice president of planning and program development.
Heat and humidity also are tough on outdoor workers, like the Toledo Division of Forestry crew that trimmed branches from locust trees along Franklin Avenue on Tuesday, sweat soaking their shirts and streaming down their faces.
“Everything's sopping wet,” said William Cramer, 59. “We don’t have air [conditioning] in the trucks. It’s 125 in there, but you just got to take it.”
Heat can cause migraines, exhaustion, and muscle cramps, added Mark Pietro, 42, a fellow forestry division employee.
Toledo’s two major hospital systems, ProMedica and Mercy Health Partners, reported no major jump in heat-related cases Tuesday.
Mercy spokesman Sarah Bednarski said its emergency rooms received just “a few minor cases” of dehydration, lightheadedness, or cramps.
The Area Office on Aging advised people to plan outdoor activities early in the day and to drink non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated drinks frequently to remain hydrated.
“Since aging can cause decreased thirst sensation, older adults should drink water, natural juices, or other fruit drinks throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty,” the agency advised.
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