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Tri-State temperatures continue to break records

Heat index reached 108 degrees at 2:32 p.m.

July 24, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER
  • A contestant in the Big Bad Burger Contest in Martinsburg, W.Va., stands in front of a hot grill on a day where the heat index was in the triple digits.
Icanstoptime.com,

With an overnight low of 81 degrees and a daytime high of 101 degrees, heat continued to cook the Tri-State area Saturday.

Saturday's high temperature of 101 degrees was reached at 3:50 p.m., according to i4weather.net, a website maintained by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

That broke the previous high temperature record for July 24, which was 98 degrees in 1987, according to Keefer's website.

The overnight low of 81 degrees was reached at 5:54 a.m., according to Keefer's website. If that remained the low temperature through midnight, it would set a record for the highest low temperature ever recorded in Hagerstown, according to Keefer's website.

The heat index in Hagerstown reached a high of 108 degrees at 2:32 p.m., according to Keefer's website. The heat index is a measure of how the air feels on the skin.

Saturday marked the fourth day that the temperature reached at least 100 degrees this summer, according to Keefer's website. It also was the fourth day this month that the high temperature broke or tied the previous record, according to Keefer's website.

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The Tri-State area was under heat advisories through late Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

A substantial amount of calls for heat-related emergencies came into the Washington County Department of Emergency Services on Saturday, a dispatcher said.

Overexposure to the sun, lack of hydration and animals locked in vehicles generally were responsible for the calls, he said.

Outdoor festivals across the region took additional precautions Saturday to keep the people cool and hydrated.

Organizers of the Big Bad Burger Contest in Martinsburg, W.Va., stocked up on water, ice and lemonade, had an ambulance on standby and set up fans to keep people cool, said Selina Meehleib, owner of Mountain State Meats and Catering, which runs the event.

"We went through at least 1,000 pounds of ice, 20 gallons of lemonade and 100 gallons of water," she said.

In Chambersburg, Pa., organizers of ChambersFest handed out fans and sold water to festivalgoers.

"Most people were prepared for the weather," said Kathy Leedy, events coordinator for the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce.

Despite efforts to keep people cool at events, some people changed their plans due to the heat.

The Williamsport Youth Soccer Association's Family Fun Day likely saw less people than anticipated, said Pat Kubala, who volunteers as a coach with the association.

Magician Frank Culler said he altered his magic act at a community family festival at Leitersburg Ruritan Community Park because it was so hot.

"Usually, I perform with a rabbit and a dove, but because of the heat, I left them at home," he said.

It does not take long for heat to create a medical emergency, said Dave Donohue, director of Franklin County (Pa.) Emergency Services.

Factors including age, medications and the presence of substances such as alcohol in the body will affect how well a person dissipates heat, Donohue said.

Emergencies ranging from dehydration and heat cramping to heat exhaustion and heat stroke are common on hot summer days, he said.

Donohue said if heat-related symptoms set in, it is important to cool the body as quickly as possible and rehydrate.

Heat stroke, however, needs immediate medical attention because it can be fatal, Donohue said.

The body generates heat through metabolism, but during heat stroke, it loses the ability to dissipate that heat, he said.

A representative from the Humane Society of Washington County said animals easily can die of heat stroke and need cool temperatures and hydration on a hot day.

In summer weather, pets never should be left in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked, according to a press release from the humane society.

Temperatures in a vehicle can rise rapidly. On an 85-degree degree, a car can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes, according to the release.

Animals also should have access to shade and plenty of clean, cool water.

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