Heat, haze hanging on: Some of us suffer, some celebrate

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Love it or hate it, yes, today’s going to be in the 90s again, no that’s not normal, and yes, we’re only halfway through the heat dome.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook and a heat advisory for southwest Ohio, with the heat index in the high-90s and approaching 100. Many local cities have opened cooling centers for those in need.

Matthew Campbell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said Friday will “most likely” be the hottest day of the heat wave, with high temperatures forecast at 95, 96 and 95 the next three days.

Those numbers make some people groan, but others are celebrating the return of the heat.

Dayton resident Sasha Beard says she likes the heat so that she and her child can be outside.

“You have the splash pads, the kids get to be outside, they’re out of school,” Beard said, adding that it’s “just an enjoyable time.”

Forecast: Hot, hot, hot

The official high temperature was 92 degrees both Monday and Tuesday at the Dayton airport, and the heat index was already at 96 at noon Wednesday.

In addition to highs in the mid-90s the next three days, overnight lows will only get down to the mid-70s, according to the National Weather Service, meaning air conditioners won’t get too much of a break. The heat wave could end by Saturday, but Sunday’s high is still forecast close to 90.

NWS Meteorologist Allen Randall said the region sees some form of heat wave most years, but added that the current surge came a little bit early.

“This would be more typical in three weeks or a month,” Randall said.

In June 2022, the Dayton area had four straight days of 90-plus-degree temperatures, but to get a six-day stretch in the 90s like our current forecasted run, you have to go back to late August of 2021, which saw eight straight days with highs between 91 and 94.

Campbell of NWS said no matter where you are in the Dayton area, it’s tough to escape the heat, and especially the humidity, which is adding 5-10 degrees to what it actually feels like.

“In the metro area, in an urban heat island, it can feel a few degrees warmer, but in terms of feeling hot and humid, it’s pretty much areawide,” Campbell said.

Love it or hate it

Heatwaves are part of our shared experience, whether you’re singing along to Power Station in the 1980s (“Some like it hot and some sweat when the heat is on”) or socially conscious Childish Gambino in 2024 (”Every day gets hotter than the one before; running out of water, it’s about to go down”).

Jennifer McCants of Trotwood said she has not been bothered by the heat, due to her hydrating and using sunscreen. But she isn’t completely on board with it, either.

“I do garden, so the heat can impact my produce growth,” McCants said. “So, eventually, I’m more so waiting for some rain.” McCants also said that it concerned her that the heat arrived before summer officially started.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Annie Chiles from Greenville wasn’t bothered by the weather: “Go out and enjoy it. Just stay safe and hydrated,” she said.

Kendra Alexander, who was at Riverscape MetroPark was not as keen on the heatwave.

“Honestly, not looking forward to the 90 and 103 degree weather. My perfect temperature is probably 75, 76 and a cool breeze,” Alexander said. “Anything past that and, you know, I’d rather be inside under some air conditioning. With a nice big cup of ice. A cold popsicle.”

How to cool off

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency compiled a list of cooling centers established by cities and counties in the area. Depending on the center, residents can go inside to cool off for a moment and get or refill a water bottle.

Examples range from the libraries in Beavercreek and Lebanon, to recreation centers in Dayton and Washington Twp., to a senior center in Yellow Springs.

Inside your home, AES Ohio recommends running appliances during cooler temperatures, such as the morning or the evening, and unplugging unused electronics to limit extra heat generation.

Outside your home, AES recommends wearing light colored and loose-fitting clothing and finding shade as much as possible.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Health effects

Extreme heat can pose health risks. Older adults, very young people, and people with pre-existing illnesses are especially susceptible to heat-related illnesses.

“People underestimate how serious heat can be,” said John Steele, public information specialist at Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County.

Heat waves can cause an increase in heat-related calls to emergency services. However, according to Kettering Assistant Fire Chief Mike Miller, there has been no surge in calls this year. But he cautioned issues with older adults can be a concern, as “they don’t compensate for heat as well as younger people”

Staying hydrated, staying in the shade, and using cooling centers as needed can help prevent heat-related illness.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

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