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Extreme temperatures continue

August 08, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY

It felt like it was about 111 degrees in Hagerstown by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

That was the heat index recorded at 2:30 p.m. by local weather observer Greg Keefer. When the temperature and humidity were accounted for, it felt hotter than 100 degrees for much of the day.

The high temperature was 97.8 degrees, according to Keefer's Web site, www.i4weather.net.

Hot and humid weather is expected to continue today, but temperatures should drop to the upper 80s Friday.

With temperatures lingering in the upper 90s, many area residents were turning to air conditioning for relief.

Michelle Waugh, manager of the service department at Larry & Sons Inc. in Hagerstown, said the company fielded more than 30 calls for service Wednesday. On a typical day, the business receives about 10 calls for repair or replacement of air conditioners.

"It's extreme," she said.

Waugh said most requests were for technicians to fix air-conditioning leaks or units that had shut down.

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Air conditioners not only cool a home or business but also remove moisture from the air, Waugh said. High humidity recorded throughout the week has caused many air conditioning systems to work overtime.

"There's just a lot of moisture in the air ... and they're just working so hard," Waugh said.

Many air conditioners were working hard Wednesday, and Allegheny Energy spokesman Allen Staggers said energy usage was high.

The highest day for energy use in the company's history occurred in August 2006, when 8,734 megawatts were used, he said.

By 4:30 p.m. Wednesday more than 8,000 megawatts had been used, but Staggers said he did not believe a record would be set.

Despite the heat, and even without the comfort of air conditioners, residents are heeding the advice of health officials, a Washington County Hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon. There were no patients there with heat-related illnesses since Tuesday.

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