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Workers across Washington County deal with the heat

'We always take extra precautions as far as signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion'

July 16, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Jayden Tatis, 8, left, and his brother, Jacob Torres, 5, right, take a break from Tuesday's heat to eat popsicles on the front porch of their Main Avenue home in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

Braxton Berkey, a living historian at Fort Frederick State Park, was decked out in 18th-century clothing as the sun beat down on the area Tuesday.

The Somerset, Pa., man was to spend much of the the day outdoors, talking to and greeting visitors and performing musket demonstrations. However, he said that as long as he stays hydrated, his clothing actually keeps him from getting too hot.

“We have natural fiber material in our clothing, and when we sweat, the sweat presses up against us,” said Berkey, 24. “The sweat builds up and eventually you become sort of like your own AC unit.”

Workers across the county had to deal with the heat Tuesday as the temperature climbed to a high of 93 degrees at 4:23 p.m., according to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer’s website at http://i4weather.net. The heat index was 99 degrees at 2:36 p.m.

Mary Stagner of Smithsburg, who owns Greensburg Farm Market on Virginia Avenue in Hagerstown, and some of her employees were unloading 28 carts containing 1,500 flowerpots Tuesday. She said it was the worst day she could remember in terms of heat and humidity.

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“It’s been very rough and hot,” said Stagner, 62. “We make sure to drink a lot and get inside.”

Josh Swartz of Hagerstown, who works for the Washington County Roads Department and was working on the parking lot behind the County Administration Building on West Washington Street Tuesday, described the weather as “miserable.”

“There’s no shade, and we have to get this done,” said Swartz, 30. “It feels like you’re in a sauna.”

He added, however, that it will not seem to be as bad as the week goes on because he will get used to it.

Washington County Recreation Department Program Coordinator Marsha Moats was overseeing about 400 youngsters during Happy Camper Day at Martin L. “Marty” Snook Memorial Park in Halfway, a task she said she did not mind.

“We have to stay organized, and that helps us combat the heat,” she said. “We always take extra precautions as far as signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion.”

Fort Frederick State Park Seasonal Ranger Amanda Carbaughwill be working with youth all week at the park and said the heat can make the job difficult.

“It can be very hot, but we try and keep ourselves hydrated,” she said. “Even if you’re swimming, it’s possible to get a heatstroke if you get dehydrated.”

Ben McKee, a maintenance worker at the park who was clearing out a field there Tuesday, said the heat does not bother him too much.

“I’m 76 years old, so I should be used to it by now,” he said. “You just don’t want to race, and we take breaks.”

The temperature is expected to exceed 90 degrees every day for the rest of the week, according to the AccuWeather forecast on the HMTV6 weather website at www.herald-mail.com/hmtv6/weather.

Thunderstorms are possible Thursday and Saturday, and the high is expected to drop to 85 degrees Sunday.

The extreme high temperatures are being caused by a high pressure ridge that is locked over the Tri-State area, according to HMTV 6 Chief Meteorologist Kris Nation.

What makes the weather especially unbearable is humidity that is causing the mid-90s temperatures to feel more like 105 degrees, Nation said.

The region is expected to get some relief from a cold front that Nation predicts will arrive Saturday afternoon, although that could trigger storms along the edge of the front.

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