Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018
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Michigan schools deal with unseasonably warm weather

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    Gloria Graber, center, embraces her granddaughters Ellie, 5, left, and Kaia Rasor, 7, at the end of the first day back to school Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at Whiteford Elementary School in Whiteford Township, Mich.

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    Jacob, 7, surprises his father Steve Schumacher, right, with a leaping hug at the end of the first day back to school Tuesday at Whiteford Elementary School in Whiteford Township, Mich. Tuesday was the first day back to school for students across Michigan.

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    Amanda Sager jokes with her son, Grayson Meinert, 7, at the end of the first day at Whiteford Elementary in Whiteford Township, Mich. Tuesday was the first day of the school year for students across the state.

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    Parents and students head home at the end of the first day back to school Tuesday at Whiteford Elementary School in Whiteford Township, Mich. Tuesday was the first day back to school for students across Michigan.

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School started as planned Tuesday in the Whiteford district just over the Michigan border from Toledo, despite unusually hot weather for the time of year. But Wednesday could be a challenge.

With Tuesday’s classes convening for just a half day, Superintendent of Schools Valerie Orr said, “We didn’t have to plan for a whole day of school.”

What might happen Wednesday, though, remained to be determined.

With air temperatures peaking in the low 90s combined with high humidity, the National Weather Service in White Lake, Mich., posted a heat advisory for Monroe, Wayne, and several counties farther north early Tuesday morning that is scheduled to expire at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

“The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible,” forecasters cautioned. “Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check on relatives and neighbors.”

Air conditioning was not an option for students in Whiteford, whose buildings Ms. Orr said are not so equipped. But the heat index there was not expected to get high enough to justify canceling classes Tuesday, she said.

“We just hope our kids dressed appropriately, and we have access to water to keep the kids hydrated,” she said shortly after Tuesday’s noontime start to the three-hour first day.

At the Erie-Mason schools, superintendent Andy Shaw said the district would comply with all Michigan High School Athletic Association protocols for sports practices after school, but classes were being held as usual Tuesday.

“We’re just using common sense for everyone,” he said.

Annette Pertz, the administrative assistant in the Bedford schools’ superintendent’s office, said conditions inside that district’s buildings were being monitored, but classes were proceeding on-schedule there, too.

While no heat advisory was posted for Toledo itself, conditions south of the state line were quite similar to those north of it on Tuesday.

At Bowling Green schools, classes ended earlier Tuesday because of the heat. It marked the second time in as many weeks that officials sent students home before the scheduled end of the day instead of leaving them in classrooms without air conditioning. On Aug. 28, classes were called early when high school classroom temperatures hit 97 degrees and elementary school classrooms were about 92 and 93 degrees.

And daytime heat hasn’t been the only issue with the tropical air mass that moved into northwest Ohio during Labor Day weekend.

Nighttime temperatures have bottomed out at about 70 since Sunday morning — extremely poor sleeping weather for people who lack air conditioning.

Another morning low in that neighborhood was forecast for Wednesday morning, followed by a fourth straight low-90s high.

The heat is expected to break Thursday, after an approaching storm system arrives in the Toledo area. After another sticky night Wednesday night, the high temperature Thursday is forecast to reach only the upper 70s in the region.

After that, highs are expected to persist in the mid-70s into early next week, with nighttime lows about 60 each night. Showery weather is expected to return to the area on Sunday and Monday.

Contact David Patch at dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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