Heat wave expected to bake Valley through July 4 holiday

Staff and wire report

A heat wave rolling across Ohio sent temperatures and irritability soaring Thursday, promising a scorching start to the July Fourth holiday weekend and an end to the relief provided by cool nights the past few weeks.

The high temperatures in the Mahoning Valley will be in the upper 80s to the low 90s through next Thursday, including a high in the lower 90s on Independence Day, according to the National Weather Service.

“We’re getting into the heart of the summer with high temperatures,” said Jim Kosarik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland. “It’s typical [summertime] in the 90s with heat and humidity.”

Thursday’s high was 94 degrees — not a record for the day as it was 97 degrees on June 28, 1934.

The high temperature should not reach that during the next week, but it’s going to be hot, Kosarik said.

The expected high for today is 90 degrees. It will be in the low 90s on Saturday and in the upper 80s on Sunday and Monday. The expected high for Tuesday is around 90, and in the low 90s for Wednesday, July 4. The expected high drops into the upper 80s on Thursday, according to the weather service forecast.

“It will be plenty hot,” Kosarik said.

Nicole Lewis said she could feel the effects of the increasing humidity Thursday as she waited for a bus in downtown Cincinnati, where the temperature in the early afternoon was in the mid-90s and rising.

“I’m already feeling fussy and cranky,” Lewis said, while fanning with a brochure. Dressed in shorts and a sleeveless shirt, Lewis said she wished she was home in her apartment complex’s pool instead of heading to an orientation for her janitorial job.

On Thursday excessive-heat warnings and heat advisories were in effect throughout the state, with forecasts calling for temperatures of 100 degrees or higher in some areas. By late afternoon, temperatures in the Cincinnati region and in Dayton had reached 103 and 102, respectively. The thermometer had reached 100 degrees in Columbus and 101 in Toledo by later in the day, according to the National Weather Service. Cooling centers were designated in many parts of the state to help those Ohioans needing to escape the heat.

State health officials urged people not to spend too much time outdoors and to stay hydrated to avoid heat-related illness over the next several days. In Cleveland, Mayor Frank Jackson asked residents to check on neighbors as temperatures were expected to be the 90s by Saturday.

Landscapers and mowing crews got an early start on Thursday to beat the afternoon heat.

The high temperatures combined with increased winds and still relatively low humidity levels in other parts of Ohio led the weather service to issue warnings of a high fire danger from noon into Thursday night, especially in the northwest area.

Dry and windy conditions could lead fires to spread quickly if any develop, said Martin Thompson, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Cleveland office.

“We don’t recommend outside burning,” he said.

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