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Valley folks seeking ways to stay cool in sizzling heat

By The Vindicator

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Staff report


With temperatures expected to soar as high as the triple digits this weekend, people are seeking a splash in the pool and a blast of cold air.

The National Weather Service in Cleveland has the Mahoning and Shenango valleys under an excessive heat warning until 8 p.m. today. Heat index values are up to 108 due to temperatures in the lower and middle 90s, and dew points in the mid-70s. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during outdoor exertion or extended exposure.

Temperatures in Youngstown reached 90 degrees Friday, and today is expected to be hotter, said meteorologist Eric Wilhelm of 21 WFMJ-TV, The Vindicator’s broadcast partner.

Wilhelm forecasts the mercury to hit 94 degrees today. Today’s record high temperature is 95 degrees, he added. With the heat index, it will feel closer to 100 or 105, he said.

He said he expects Sunday won’t be as hot but still “very humid.” He said he’s expecting scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the day. Some residual rain will linger Monday morning, he said.

But relief is on the way, he added.

“The rest of next week looks gorgeous,” Wilhelm said. “Less humid, mostly sunny – nice summer weather.”

While some may have spent the day complaining about the heat and humidity, Lonna Mackey of Niles made the best of it at the Jewish Community Center pool on Logan Way in Liberty.

“When you get in the water, then get out, you don’t feel it. With the breeze, I feel like I’m in the Caribbean,” she said, laughing. “When you’re at home and you’re outside, you can feel the thickness in the air, but here you don’t.”

Mackey usually brings her grandchildren to the pool, but “I knew it was going to be nice and hot, so I came myself.”

Jennifer Braun of Niles brought her children, Sawyer and Avery, to the pool on Logan Way to cool off in the afternoon. By then, the temperature was almost 90, and humidity reached 69 percent.

“Today is a good day to come to the pool, and then go home and be in the air conditioning,” Braun said. “We don’t come here every day, but we love coming here.”

Nicole Davis of Howland came to the pool with her family because her children had swim lessons.

“It’s been nice because the sun is blocked by all of these clouds. You can’t even tell there’s humidity when you’re in the water,” she said. “We will stay here as long as we can, and then we’ll get ice cream at Handel’s.”

The NWS advises rescheduling strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Wear light-weight and loose-fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency – call 911.

Check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles.

At the Salvation Army on Franklin Street in downtown Warren, about eight men arrived Thursday for the cooling center services provided, some of them new people the staff had not seen before. The service continued Friday and possibly into today.

They “hung out” watching television, playing table games and consuming cool drinks for an hour or two, then some got on the air-conditioned Western Reserve Transit Authority bus nearby, said Ruth Cline, Salvation Army office


Many of the men are homeless, but the cooling center is for everyone, she said. It opened at 8:30 a.m. and continues to 3:30 p.m., but most of the people who came in for air-conditioned cooling Thursday came in the afternoon.

Many also left there for lunch at the nearby Trumbull County Take Flight soup kitchen at 222 E. Market St., which serves food from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is across from the Veteran’s Service Commission’s new offices on East Market.

Take Flight has been open at that location since March 2018, said Joy Heiens of Bristol, who is in charge of the kitchen.

AAA East Central reminds motorists the heat has the potential to kill more vehicles than the winter cold, and that preventive maintenance is needed to help prevent roadside breakdowns.

“Most people aren’t aware that the hot summer sun actually breaks down the internal components of a battery,” said Mike Hoshaw, vice president of automotive services. “They may feel as though their battery is fine because they’ve made it through winter, but the difference in temperatures actually presents different challenges.”

When temperatures climb above 90 for a few consecutive days, AAA experiences a sizable increase in drivers needing assistance for dead batteries. Summer heat accelerates the rate of fluid loss and resulting oxidation of battery components, putting older batteries in danger of failing. It’s for this reason that batteries in cooler northern climates tend to last a few years longer than in hot southern areas. In Ohio, vehicle batteries typically last three to five years.

AAA advises vehicle owners to consider having the battery and charging systems tested. Make sure the battery cables are clean and tight.

Also make sure to drive. For vehicle owners who don’t drive often or far, a vehicle should be taken out for a long drive once every week or two. Shorter drives can drain a battery over time, given that it doesn’t have time to recharge properly.